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Warm Wishes on Veterans Day

IMG_0820For the first time, I have veterans in my life who served in combat. I have learned so much about the mentality of veterans and what they and their families have and do experience.

Veterans Day is a mixed bag for veterans. Of course, they are glad they made it home and are reunited with their families, but their hearts constantly ache for their brothers who didn’t make it back. There are terrible feelings of “Why did I get to come home and my friends didn’t?”

I woke up this morning unsure of what to say to these men. Happy Veterans Day really doesn’t feel at all appropriate. It just feels anything but happy. So I asked one of the veterans in my life what one should say, and his response was, “Warmest wishes on Veterans Day.”
Now because this blog is about being a mom, what I really want to talk about are the moms in the veterans’ lives. I want to share the story of a family that is very near and dear to my heart. This is a family with three generations of veterans serving in combat. The first generation was an awful war story ending in a beautiful love story. This veteran fell in love with a nurse he met while serving, and they modeled for generations to come what a relationship should look like. What true love really is and looks like. The son of this couple married an amazing woman and they too have a beautiful marriage. It is her story and perspective I want to share. While her husband was serving, they were in a small town and that town didn’t have the service of a soldier who would come knock on the door to inform the family of a fallen loved one, so every night she had to turn on the TV, because they would list the fallen soldiers of that area. I can almost feel the butterflies and anxiety she must have felt every night before turning on that TV. Would this be the day her husband’s name appeared? She was pregnant at the time and living on base. There was no hospital nearby, so once in labor she had to rush across the border to the neighboring state to deliver. Her husband serving in Vietnam didn’t hear of the birth for quite a while and didn’t meet his son until he was six months old. This was on his first tour of duty. I can’t begin to comprehend how awful and stressful that was.

Later, they had another child and he went back to Vietnam for another tour. Can you imagine having to say goodbye? He made it home alive and then to have to say goodbye again. Awful, just awful. Later that firstborn son went to a military academy and served in combat. He was seriously injured and almost didn’t make it home alive. I’ve heard his story, and it is one of the most barbaric, awful stories I’ve ever heard. For me that would be more than I could handle going through it with my husband, but to have to go through it with my son as well would just about kill me.

So I guess my point is on this day I want to thank everyone who has served. I know each and every one of you has a story, and it is a painful one. Thank you for risking your life for me, my family, and our country. I’m forever grateful to each of you. A very special thank-you to the moms of veterans. I’m so relieved for you that today you are getting to hold your child and love on him or her. From the bottom of my heart, I ask God to bless the socks off of these families.

On a personal note, I want to say thank you to the special veterans in my life. I love you. Thank you for serving. Even more than that, thank you for coming back. I’m so blessed to have you in my life.

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