I have always respected the men and women who serve our country. Both of my grandfathers are WWII veterans and Mike’s family also has a heritage of proud service. That said, we are not a “military family” and I don’t think I fully understood the impact of knowing someone who is serving until my cousin joined the Marines as a JAG officer a few years ago. Even then, it still didn’t hit me that he could be called for duty overseas, until he was.
Ironically last week when I was touring Washington D.C. I looked down at my phone and saw an email from my aunt. The email was short and to the point. My cousin would be leaving for Afghanistan in just a few weeks.
What? Is this for real?
Those were the first thoughts I had. Then my mind went to his fantastically awesome wife Anne, who blogs at Hammer and Heels. How was she feeling about all of this? And his mom? Brother? Friends? My mind went on and on.
Then I got to talk to him on the phone this week and my outlook changed. Of course, like everyone who knows and loves him, we’re sick with worry. But to hear his pride, excitement and passion for what he is going over there to do…it’s hard not to feel the same. The men and women who serve our country are, simply put, irreplaceable. They possess a fierce loyalty to the USA that many of us try to say we have, but don’t. Not by a long shot.
His exact departure date is not yet set but I know everyone in his life will be praying fiercely for his well being. I’d ask my readers to do the same. And the next time you see someone in uniform, take a second to say a simple ‘thank you.’ Shake their hand, look them in the eye, and tell them you appreciate their service. It is the very least any of us can do.