Following up on Veterans Day.....
Thanking God for all military persons everywhere over the years.
I now know what it means to have a child tell me they want to enlist.
I now know what it means to live through the days of praying earnestly for one in Marine Corp Boot Camp training....knowing that he is experiencing one of the most hard-core intense training and in-your-face trying daily moments in his entire life.
**image file of basic training in the Marine Corp
I now know what it is like to be told what you can or can't do involving your relationship with your child.
I now know what it is like to turn one of your own completely over to the government. To have all strings cut severely and immediately. No mail, no calls, no communication.
I now know the extreme pride in seeing one of your children having accomplished their goal and completed the hard tasks set before them. To feel the joy of seeing them crossing the threshold into adulthood and independence.
*Graduation Day Parris Island May 22, 2009 Justin - center
I now know what it is like to have a son deployed in a country far, far away and to know he is living in a war zone where danger and the enemy surround him constantly, not knowing if I will ever see him again here.
**photo courtesy of Bill Ardolino of The Long War Journal.
The Marine on the far right with the equipment on his back (used to scramble signals sent that could cause IED's to be set off by remote) is my Justin. He said the equipment was so heavy, he eventually lost all feeling in the nerves in his shoulders, which in his positive spin on all things, wrote in a letter... "that's good, now I can't feel it digging into my shoulders anymore."
Life is what you make of it.
I now know what it is like to have my mind and my heart battling with facts and reality vs. God's sovereignty and my faith.
I now know what it is like to have one return home, protected and preserved, alive and well,to see that smiling face across a crowd, and feel my heart leaping out of my chest, I am so overwhelmed with a feeling I can not describe.
I now know what it means to deep down, beyond words, appreciate with all my heart the steps of a Veteran...My son... a fighting member of this long war.
This is what the ribbon looks like that every Marine will wear with pride to show their service in the Afghanistan war. Justin ordered and got his service ribbon magnet yesterday to display on his truck. He is a Veteran.
I feel that I AM A VETERAN. One of these.
And more precisely....one of THESE!
I have been through my own emotional experience of boot camp. I have prayed. I have worried. I have prayed. I have feared. I have sent hundreds of dollars worth of care boxes. I have cried. I have prayed....I have written letters....and....I have prayed. I have endured with a bulldog "devil-dawg" tenacity. I have survived all of the above....as a mother. A piece of my heart walks wherever the footsteps of any of my four treasures walk on this earth. And for me, that includes bootprints...in another land. All who have military family....KNOW of what I speak. Motherhood is not easy. Military Motherhood is less easy.
I am thankful...once again...for the veterans of this land, and all they gave and sacrificed to make this life, here in the United States of America...possible.
They fought and many died for their generation, and for the generations yet to come.
God bless their efforts.
I also thank all of the families who have waited and presently wait back at home...Veterans in their own right...for their loved ones to return safe and sound.
I know what you endure. I especially feel for the mamas, (and right now, being miles away from my hubby, I am holding a special BIG empathy for the spouses of deployed servicemen and women.) None of it is easy. God bless you.
I close today with this account. A response from former US Astronaut and retired US Marine Col. John Glenn laying into a political opponent, Howard Metzenbaum, during a 1974 race for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio.
On May 3, 1974, at the City Club debate in Cleveland, Glenn let fly with the following counterattack after Metzenbaum noted that Glenn had ”never had to meet a payroll.”
”Howard, I can’t believe you said that. I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I went through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions.
”I ask you to go with me as I went the other day to a veterans’ hospital, and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.
”You go with me on Memorial Day coming up and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends than I like to remember, and you watch those waving flags, and you stand there and you think about this nation and you tell me that those people didn’t have a job.
”I tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men – some men – who held a job.”
AMEN. Thanking God today.