Then her phone rang. She took it out of the pocket in her sleeve. You see, military uniforms have all sorts of pockets for all the little items that need to be with the member wherever they go. She answered the phone and said, "Hi honey, are you already home?" I could tell from her response that her loved one had not made it back to Fort Bragg but still had unfinished words or perhaps a longing to hear her voice again before she flew off. She told him that she missed him already and that she loved him. I can only imagine the words that he was speaking.
A young man sitting across from us, about my son's age, addressed her in the respect that the military teaches its own, Ma'am, where are you headed? Then came her response.....Afghanistan......
I asked her if she was just beginning her deployment. She responded no that she had just been home for her allowed visit. I asked her if she was at her half way point in her deployment? Her answer was no, that she had waited further into her stint so that when she went back she would only have 3 1/2 months left. She told me that her husband was also in the Army and they had been saying their final goodbyes over the phone. LET US NOT FORGET!
I told her that my husband had just retired from the Air Force Chaplaincy. And we shared more. She told me of the time that both her and her husband were deployed. They had custody of his children from a former marriage and that they had to send the 2 children and all their pets to his first wife while being deployed. The first wife was now married to a person in the Navy and that he was also deployed. So she did what military families do, took on the responsibility of children and pets while all their loved ones were serving in harms way! Let us not forget.....families are sacrificing every single day for the freedom of this country!!!!
The young man began to share in that way that only youth can that he had a tendency to get into trouble on deployments if he did not stay busy. The small Army Captain took on her role as a leader and encouraged him not not to do so. I stepped in and added "As a mother and a former Chaplain's wife I also encourage you to do what is right. If you get bored and feel as if you might do something foolish go hang out with the chaplains. Believe me you will not regret serving well."
He surprised me by saying that he hung out with the chaplains often and even played an instrument in the praise and worship band. I cheered him on, thinking of the age of my own son. We ask so much out of these very young people who serve our nation. Let us not forget.
The boarding of our plane was announced. With a full heart I thanked the Army Captain for her service and her tremendous sacrifice! She surprised me by thanking me for my years of service for serving with my husband. She went her way, into harms way, and I went my way back to our little church in Marble. As I go about my business, as you go about your business, people are still serving in far flung places because their country asks it of them!! PLEASE AMERICA, LET US NOT FORGET!!!!!