Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Traveling, and Home Again!

I just had a busy and interesting weekend. I flew to Colorado Springs/Pueblo for a business trip. Then, I had the joy of staying with a friend for a few days. I learned much, experienced much, and enjoyed observing different things.

On the trip out, I had the joy of sitting next to a man who was headed to "Parent's Weekend" at the Air Force Academy. We had a wonderful conversation about his daughter - in her second year at the Academy - and, his pride in her could have powered the plane! I shared some of my experiences with the wonderful people in service to our country. We agreed, 100%, that the young people serving our country are the finest we have. When we deplaned, I asked him to thank his daughter for me for her service to our country, and he got tears in his eyes.

The friend I stayed with was a pen pal during her deployment to Iraq. She was stationed in Mosul in 2003-4. We wrote letters, emailed, and, of course, care packages!!! We became quite close, and last year I was invited to her wedding. This year, her husband is in Iraq. So, I write letters and email and send care packages to him, too! We visited her neighbor and her new baby - Dad is in Afghanistan, and has yet to see the baby. I sat and watched and listened as these ladies held down the home front and lived for the brief communications from the war zone. They are never very far from the cell phone or the computer - waiting for that call or email or chance to chat. When the phone rings, their eyes light up when the display tells them who it is. The joy on their faces is priceless. Many people support the troops, but few know the families that are left at home. It is seemingly endless waiting. It is pride. It is hope. It is pushing worry to the farthest recesses of their minds. I also got to watch the community that they become with one another. My friend needed some help with the lawn, and a neighbor stepped in. A father of a deployed soldier came to fix the toilet. They have created their own support system. It is amazing to watch. They carry the concern and helpfulness that America used to have in its neighborhoods. They haven't forgotten how to care about one another.

On the way home, I got stopped by security for an extra search. I'm 5' tall, fair, blond and 54 years old. Nope, in case you are worried, we aren't profiling!! When they were finally finished with me, I thanked them for doing their job and keeping us all safe. They looked at me like I should be locked up.

The plane was full of parents returning from parents weekend. They were easily identifiable, as they were all carrying bags from the Air Force Academy. It was a joy to watch. New friendships had been formed, enthusiasm and pride filled the air. They were anxious to share their stories and brag about their kids!

After connections were delayed, I finally got home! Waiting for me were several letters from my current pen pals.

I will never serve in the military. I will never be part of their special family. But, I will always be grateful for those I know, who allow me a glimpse of who they are, who allow me to briefly share in their lives. They are our shining stars.

No comments: