Thursday, May 26, 2011

Red, White, and Blue

  In my early years, I was raised in a military family. My father was a graduate of West Point and my stepfather, father-in-law, scores of uncles, and a brother-in-law served our nation during wartime and beyond. It is a calling not just for the individual, but for their families as well.
My nephew
    I am especially mindful of my nephew who is currently serving in Afghanistan and his wife and two children who are living in Germany. He has been deployed for a year. This is his third tour of duty to a war zone, his second in Afghanistan. He and his wife have spent more days apart than they have together, not an uncommon occurrence in military marriages.
  Think about it. This time around it is 365 nights that this mommy will put her children to bed by herself and climb into a bed that is meant for two but now sleeps one. She will wipe countless noses, change innumerable diapers, tend to a multitude of childhood illnesses and cuddle, hug, and snuggle her little ones as she shepherds them through their daily lives. She will record the milestones in their lives and feel that familiar ache because her husband is missing them.
   For all intents and purposes, for these 365 days, my niece will be a single mom. Although she will talk to her husband and maybe Skype him occasionally, it will not be easy. Some days it will be more than hard. But she will get through because she knows that her man is making an even bigger sacrifice than she is. He is daily risking life and limb in a far-away rugged country in the precious name of freedom, and that is probably something she does not like to think about too much. My guess is that it always hovers at the back of her mind, but that she daily chooses to live her life, parent her children, tend the home fires, and invest in her community as she waits for her husband and trusts God daily to keep him safe.
   I am thankful for those who have served and are serving our country in uniform. However, today I want to lift up the red, white, and blue for those wives and husbands who tough it out every day without their loved ones by their side. We certainly laud and appreciate the sacrifice of your husband or your wife, but we also remember you and the incredible sacrifice of love that you are making as well. Here's to you, military wives and husbands and families wherever you are!
My nephew and his lovely wife

Their precious family!
  If you would like to get involved in supporting a special program, check into Buy a Soldier's Bed, something my niece is coordinating for soldiers in their division returning from deployment to Afghanistan.       You can download the descriptive flyer here:
   And this is the donor form:
   The picture below gives you an idea of what their living situation is like in Afghanistan:
   I can think of no better way to celebrate Memorial Day than to support troops in their transition from a war zone. Ahh, for the comforts of home!

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