I had the privilege of experiencing the most amazing moment yesterday! A friend of ours from church was returning from his tour overseas. His family couldn't be here to greet him so his church family went in their place. It really was a privilege to be around these men and women that give up so very much for our freedom. I never realized or wanted to see how much these people sacrifice for the rest of us. Yesterday, I could not NOT see it. All around me were family members waiting with baited breathe for their soldiers. Including small infants that had probably never met their Daddy's. Toddlers that didn't really remember their Daddy's. Small children that were unsure of what to say or do with their Mom or Dad that had been away for over a year. Spouse's that were almost in tears because they were so excited to have their other half brought back home to them safe and sound. Parents that couldn't believe their baby was finally coming home. They probably saw a little kid standing in front of them wearing dress up clothes. There were also grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, siblings and friends that were so excited to welcome home someone that was so important in their lives but had been missing for over a year. The moment they released the guys from formation I was almost in tears watching everyone swarm to that one person. The hugs and kisses and gentle touches. Making sure they were indeed in one piece. They were definitely real and actually HERE.
We found our friend Jason looking around. He didn't know who would be there for him. He knew his wife had tried to set up someone coming to get him. She told him to look for me that I would definitely be there. I know that he was disappointed not to have his family there to greet him, even though he knows that it wasn't possible. I also know he was relieved to have people there excited about seeing him. People that think he is important and are glad he made it home.
My brother was a marine. He was in Dessert Storm. I can't help but feel terrible now that there was no one there to meet him when he came home. I was so young. I was in my late teens or early twenty's and I didn't think anything of it at the time. Now I realize what a let down it must have been for him. Did it run through his head that he wasn't important enough for us to be there? Did he realize that it was probably a money thing as to why we didn't go. If he were alive I would ask him these questions. I would really give almost anything to be able to do that. Instead I will have to wait until I meet him again in Heaven. I didn't appreciate his sacrifices and his feelings when he was alive.
Now I hope that I can at least make that up by realizing and appreciating what these people do for us. What they give up so that we can have all of the freedoms we have. We take so many things for granted these days. Or at least I should say I do. For our rights they give up the right to be a part of the daily moments with their children, spouses and other family. They give up a lot of Christmas's, birthdays and other holidays and special occasions. As if that isn't enough they give up moments like the birth of a child, first steps and words and other moments that can never come back. Spouse's sacrifice a lot too. They kind of get neglected sometimes because they look just like you and me. They are the ones that are raising their children alone because their spouse is over seas for us. They are the ones that have to go through labor either alone or with a family member if they are lucky. They are the ones that have to hold their child's hand and tell them that their Mommy or Daddy will be coming home, all the while they are wondering if they really will. They are the ones that feel lost sometimes, overwhelmed and alone others. If anyone in the military or a military spouse is reading this THANK YOU for all you have given up!