He's home from Iraq. He arrived at the local airport today, with family, friends, neighbors and strangers he'd never met awaiting his arrival. Each of them had come to show their support and their appreciation to this soldier for his duty served in the on-going war.
He joined the US Army because he had the same patriotism shared by his brother, his grandfather and his great-grandfather. He wanted to protect and preserve our country's rights and freedoms. His mother is proud of her sons' decisions.
This scene might have been different. The soldier might have marched proudly off the plane wearing his decorated uniform. He might have held his chin high as he stood at attention or smiled and waved at the crowd. He might have run across the airfield to lift his little son high in the air and hug his mother. But, he was carried off the plane and escorted by an honor guard. He was lying prone, his bed a casket, his blanket the flag of the United States. Not only is he a patriotic military man, he is now a statistic, another casualty of war.
My heart goes out to a woman who lives in the same little town I do. We've never met. That may change, for I feel a connection with her. I have a son in the military too. I know the worries she must have felt when her son was in a danger zone. I ache for her, knowing the agony I have felt when I've dared let myself think that my son might sometime be in a combat area. So far, that has not been our case, but when your son is a member of the US military, you know it's always a possibility.
A soldier has come back to his own homeland. This young man will be honored with special services and laid to rest on Saturday. His mother will know no rest for many days and nights in the future. She will remember her son's days at home with her as a little boy. She will think of the good times they shared while he was growing up, and she will teach her little grandson about
the father he is too young to remember. She will wonder what might have been. She will not forget for a single moment that her son is one of the many soldiers lost, but a very special one. She will be proud of her boy, but she will wish things could have been different. She will pray, with all of her heart, that God will spare her other son from such a fate. I will pray with her, for her, and for all the other mothers of sons who might find themselves in fear of such a heartbreaking return.