Dear Old Glory,
All too soon the sun will rise. The day will start and time will, as always, refuse to stand still. Coffee will be made, lunches will be packed and yellow buses will pick-up growing children. Just another day for most of America. Tomorrow though, many of my friends will say good-bye to their husbands and send them off to war.
You’ll be there in the room quietly watching hearts break. You’ll see the tears and forced smiles. You’ll witness lucky pennies, Daddy don’t go’s and family prayers. You’ll understand that one more kiss leads to four more. You know because you’ve seen it millions of times before. You know that’s how it is when you love you someone so much. The sadness will fill the room but you’ve never doubted the strength of those going or those left behind. You will clearly see the sacrifices each one is making.
The man by the door will miss his daughter’s graduation. That young private will not hold his son until he is two months old. The woman in the corner will miss the tooth fairy’s first visit. That sergeant will not sleep well until he’s once again sleeping with his wife. They will all miss birthdays, movie nights and family. The sense of home will stop being a reality and become a longing. And then, much too soon, those soldiers will pick you up and carry you off to dusty lands. As the journey begins, you’ll wave goodbye knowing the last thing their families will see is you.
You will be the only loved one those soldiers see for the next nine months. The only one they love that they can take when they go. Be there for them. Through holidays, sleepless nights and homesickness, be there. Remind them that they are all a part of something greater than themselves. Thousands of miles from their lives, be a symbol of hope and a reminder of home. Be there for them because they all will need you.
You will be the one they carry into war. In the dust, fear and adrenaline, you will see what they see and go where they go. You will know the stories that they will never bring home and the nightmares that wake them long after they return. You will see mankind at its best and at its worst. You will see destruction, hurt and heartache. But, you couldn’t be in better hands for it is their job to keep you safe.
If the unthinkable happens and tragedy comes, you will then have the most humbling job of all. You will pick them up, hold them close and lovingly carry them home. A final thank you for all the times they have willingly carried you. Silently, giving your reassurance even in that final journey that you are there for them as they’ve always been for you.
Halfway around the world, we will be waiting for them to come home. Remind them of that, for it’s only when they are all home that we will be able to exhale.
An Army Wife