Let’s Remember Our Troops
I’m going to take a little detour from food this morning and focus instead on our troops. My daughter, Tori, was deployed that holiday season and my heart was feeling a little broken. The troops were lucky to have a 5 Star General and his wife visiting that year and Tori was chosen to sit next to the General’s wife at the Thanksgiving table. I remember feeling such gratitude to this woman who I didn’t know and would never meet for leaving her own children and grandchildren so that she could encourage our ladies in uniform. I felt relief that God had sent an angel to sit beside my little girl and make her feel just a little bit better about being so far away from home that Thanksgiving Day.
I suppose Tori was chosen because she was one of the few women in the Communications Center when the General’s wife was looking around for a lunch date. But I choose to believe that God knew my heart was taking a beating that day and so he granted me a small reprieve. I was trying so hard to be strong but after our Thanksgiving dinner I finally had to sneak off for a hot bath so that the running water would keep the rest of family from hearing my tears . My husband wasn’t fooled. He took one look at my face when I came out of our bathroom and knew that I needed to hear his reassurance that this wouldn’t last forever and that Tori and I would both survive this separation. He was right, but it was a Thanksgiving that I will never forget it and I wouldn’t want to live it again.
Thanksgiving 2007 was the first year that David and I were married and 2 of my stepsons had to spend the holiday in Iraq. We learned the hard way that the military can and will send more than one child in a family to war unless the country is in a draft status. The boys were in combat zones less than 2 hours from each other but they might as well have been worlds apart – they never physically saw one another.
I still remember walking into Michaels amidst the festive Christmas decorations and asking an employee where I might find “that big, wide yellow ribbon that you can tie around an outdoor tree”. He innocently asked me if I had a child in the Middle East and I responded “two”. The look on his face made my eyes fill up with tears and I lost it right there in the middle of Michael’s MJ Designs. I wouldn’t want to live that moment again either.
That big yellow ribbon hung on the tree in our front yard until the last brother came home the following spring. And another went up each and every time we sent a child into harms way. Unfortunately, it will most likely hang again in the very near future. A total sense of security never lasts for long in these crazy times we live in.
I’ve sent packages to our kids and to total strangers in an effort to feel that I am helping our military members survive a holiday far away from their loved ones. It’s better than nothing but there isn’t a physical object out there that can ever take the place of your loved ones on a holiday. Please keep in mind that a large majority of those serving have very young children at home who are far too young to understand why Mom or Dad is missing from their place at the table when they sit down to share a holiday meal.
There’s really not much to do as a nation except close your eyes and ask God to please fill the hearts of our troops with peace on this Thanksgiving Day. Ask Him to help our men and women who are serving to remember what they have to be grateful for – it is easy to forget when you’re tired and worn down from stress and fatigue. Our military always makes sure that there is plenty of delicious food spread out in the chow hall on holiday’s. But it’s still a normal work day for our troops. They are never “closed for the holiday’s” and the day pretty much goes by like any other.
So, please, close your eyes today as you look around at family and friends and remember those who are lonely, frightened, stressed and home sick. They need our prayers. And if you’re reading this blog and one of your children is currently deployed then God bless you and I wish you peace. My heart goes out to you because this Mom knows exactly how you feel today.
And now I will finish this cup of coffee and head to the kitchen. My loved ones are counting on sticky buns this morning. And Cody talked me into mimosa’s this year. Oh dear.
Happy Thanksgiving to all,
My Mother’s Daughter