I’m usually full of words (just ask my husband). But today, no words can truly convey my gratitude for the men and women who serve in all the branches of the United States armed forces and their families.
I am a mother of 2 children, neither one serving in the military. So I cannot fully understand the anxiety a mother feels as she watches her son or daughter be deployed to a war zone far, far away. I will never know the pride that mother feels when the news is conveyed of her daughter’s heroic actions. And I will never sit at my child’s funeral with a 21 gun salute sounding his final return to home.
I am a wife of a husband who works very hard, but he hasn’t ever served in the military. So I cannot speak as a wife who prays every day for her husband’s safety as he patrols a deserted village in Afghanistan. I’ve never had to tell my children that “Daddy will be home soon,” not knowing if he will ever come home again. I’ve never had to help my husband recover from injuries suffered in combat, both mental and physical, praying that we can somehow find our way to a “new normal.”
I am a daughter, but my father didn’t serve in the military. I cannot give advice to children who haven’t seen their father in 6 months or a year – or longer. I’ve never missed my father’s birthday because he was in a jungle fighting the Viet Cong. I have no idea what it’s like to hope every day while I sit at my desk at school that my daddy will walk through the classroom door giving me the biggest surprise of my life.
I’ve never served in the military. I will never know the emotional upheaval of leaving the people I love to fight an enemy I hate for the protection of so many I don’t even know.
My grandfather served in the army, my father-in-law served in the navy and my nephew is currently serving in the navy, so I have a bit of knowledge but no real comprehension or understanding of the mental and physical challenges our soldiers experience. I cannot write as a contemporary, as a fellow soldier or family member of someone who serves. Those words would not be legitimate because I’ve never been there.
But I have these words to share, found in the book of Numbers, chapter 6, verses 34-36: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
And I do have words of encouragement, words of thankfulness, words of gratitude for those who serve and the ones who love them.
Thank you. God bless you. Amen.
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