Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thank You

When I was a kid, I watched as Bush the first invaded Iraq for the first time. I still remember watching the fires on the news, when I was seven years old. That same year, I was in first grade. One of the boys in that class of 30, John, went on to enlist in the military when he grew up.
When I was a ten, I watched the Black Hawk Down incident on the news one morning before heading to a new school after a move. That day I met a Chrissy, a future army wife. I met Andrew, a boy who also enlisted as soon as he turned 18, that day too.
I was studying Kosovo in an American History class at the age of 15 before serving as an aid for a high school wrestling meet. There I met Sean, Ben and Mike, all of whom enlisted in the army after high school.  After wrestling, I went to friend Gail's house, not knowing that one day she'd be the army wife of my first grade friend John. Gail's little brother Alex would also go on to serve our nation.
When I was 18, I watched those towers fall like everyone else. My mind scrambled, trying to comprehend the ramifications of those attacks. I wept for the fallen, and I worried, knowing that I was 18 and so was nearly every friend I'd ever had to that point. I wondered, if a draft might be called. I guessed at which person I love, might find themselves at war.
In the many days since that terrible event, I have had the privilege of recognizing the fine people I grew up with as heroes. I have seen them stand up for our country, and answer it's call. In spite of my fear for their safety, I've been proud to know each of them, and eagerly wait for news of their service.
Last spring, I was happy to hear of Sean, Steve and Ben's safe return to their families. Last week, I was pleased to read about John coming home to Gail's arms after a long period of service. I am certain their two children are thrilled. This afternoon, I was happy to see pictures of Andrew's son Chase who was born this morning - with his Daddy right there beaming.
Knowing these fine people makes me very proud. It makes me ever so grateful that they each made it home safely - this time. Looking at baby Chase's picture this afternoon... I am compelled to say something. I am drawn to offer my humble voice. To my childhood friends, now grown heroes. I offer this simple, but heartfelt, Thank You.

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