Most of you are well aware that my husband served in the military. He served 7 years with the US Marine Corps in the reserves (about 3 years of which he was on active duty training and/or deployed) before dropping to the IRR last year.
He’s now officially out of the military, but I can tell you from personal experience that nothing is better than seeing your loved one after they’ve been gone so long. And nothing is better than knowing that they’ve made it home safely.
Given the amount of time that these guys spend together, their bond is unmistakable. It seems whenever we run into someone who is or was in the military, they can sit and talk with Alex forever. There’s just something about the military that puts them all on common ground. Common experiences. Understanding of one another.
In fact, some of Alex’s best friends are those that he served with in the military. And for that very reason, I have a soft spot in my heart for those guys. They’d send me e-mails while they were deployed to let me know that Alex was ok, that he just was super busy and hadn’t had time to get to the internet center so I didn’t worry. They were a part of our wedding. And now, Alex’s brother is serving in the military as well.
I never had a strong tie to the military until after high school. No immediate family members. My parents didn’t serve. My grandparents didn’t, either. So the military traditions and camaraderie that come along with being a member of the service were all rather foreign to me. Now, after being introduced to the military and living with it for the last 6 years, I am in absolute awe of these guys.
While Alex was deployed, there were quite a few guys in his unit who were at odds with their family or didn’t have family. One example was a Marine who had been raised in the foster system. Another was a Marine whose family disagreed with his choice to join the military and stopped speaking to him. These guys had nobody to send letters to them. They had nobody who would send them care packages. Their support system was the military. But I can’t even imagine how tough it was to see other people getting mail and receive nothing themselves.
So, with that being said, today we walked over to the grocery store. The local VFW post was at the entrance to the store with a list of commonly needed items for care packages for our troops. They were requesting donations so that they could compile their care package goal of 200 boxes a month to send to Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, this hit a soft spot for both me and Alex. They work with leadership overseas to ensure that these boxes get to those troops who don’t get much mail or support from home. We purchased some Crystal Lite in powder form, baby wipes, foot powder, tooth brushes, toothpaste and snacks. We purchased more of the ‘essential care’ items, thinking that most folks would probably buy the candy and snack items.
I know that the war in the middle east has faded from many people’s minds. I know that the shock of 9/11 has faded as well. I know that some disagree with the reasons we’re over there in the first place. But these guys are still over there fighting for our freedoms every single day. They do their jobs so that we don’t have to. Far away from family and loved ones. The least we can do for them is provide them some support and let them know that their service and sacrifices are very much appreciated. Knowing that there are people back here who care is part of what helps them make it home safely.
The VFW is a great organization to send donations to. If you want to find your local VFW post, you can search here. And if nothing else, when you meet someone who has served, give them a big thank you. After all, without men and women like them, we sure wouldn’t have all the freedoms that we do. And for that, we should all be thankful.