I knew this would be emotional. I knew it would touch me. I knew it would be a strong reminder of what others give. I had no idea how much this would touch me. There was a time when my two best friends had joined the Army and I was heavily considering joining up through ROTC, although my dad was trying to talk me into Air Force-his branch of service. I was very close to saying yes, but in the end I said no. At the time war was not a reality for us, but I knew I couldn't do it.
My father was Air Force for much of my early years. My mom's dad was career Air Force. My grandmother went through so much, it is amazing to me how much strength the woman has had, and has. The stories are told and passed down. Uncles, cousins, so many family members are a part of our military. We have all been taught, and know what people do and give to be a part of our armed forces. It's always been a presence. I remember the many visits to Offut to the museum and seeing the plane with the "bubble" on the bottom and being told how my grandpa was a turret gunner-I beleive that is the right term-during WWII, the soldier who sat in the clear bubble manning a gun. It was one of the more memorable moments of my life, realizing, as a child, what bravery that must've taken. He was lost behind enemy lines, but his knowing French saved his life. Many stories I didn't hear until my grandpa had passed away, because they were too much to talk about. My uncle and cousin (father and son) will be deployed near the end of this year. Hopefully they will go to the same place. We aren't sure where yet. My feelings are so much about it, I cannot imagine how it is for my aunt. I cannot imagine what it would be to have your husband, your son, your wife, your daughter, your father or mother to be the one going. The strength of people is amazing. The grace with which they demonstrate it is amazing. There are no words that can express my thankfullness, my gratitude, my acknowledgement of their sacrifice. No words. Thank you all.