11 November 2013

Remembering Our Veterans

This is a particularly poignant Veterans Day for our family as we have a recently returned veteran in our home. Let me just say that the sacrifices made by our military service members and their families are far and beyond anything I might have imagined, growing up with no real experience with military life. The impact of military deployment on families is not just for the few months they are away but the months in advance that they prepare, the time they are gone and for a long time afterwards. They are apart often, much beyond official deployments.

I saw it captured so well by author Liz Bell Young, who recently published In The Wide Country Of Love, the story of her own family's experience with military deployment. Liz, featured on DesignMom last week said, "Even the thought of that time makes my heart drop." I know that exact feeling and often wonder if I always will. I look at the photos of our deployment time with feelings of deep sadness and jubilant triumph at having survived it. And survival, in that context has many meanings: physically, emotionally, relationship wise, financially, and in so many other ways. 

I heard recently that there are over 1 million OEF/OIF (Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom) veterans now. That tells me there are at least 1 million families challenged by the struggles of post war stress, adjustment and injuries. I am grateful for a generation of military spouses who are speaking up, telling their stories and taking charge, with their spouses, of their futures and their families. This is one powerful group of women (and men), who I am glad to be a part of. They have taught me a great deal.

I have two fathers-in-law who fought in Vietnam and were career military. I thank them for their service and all who have served through times of war and peace. I of course thank The Man for his service. And I thank every one of the men and women (and their families) who I pass regularly on bases in our area and throughout all the world. Thank you for your sacrifices. May God bless you to stay strong, safe and well.

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