As parents, we all worry about our children. Worry is something that starts long before our children are born. Then we realize the worry will never end. As parents of military members, we share another fear. Fear, we dread hearing the words, “Mom, Dad. I will be deploying on….” Those words pull on our heart even more because we know they will intentionally be in harm’s way.
What we try not to fear is when they are stateside on a base or post. The murderer of 12 soldiers and 1 police officer on Fort Hood came as such a shock. Were they not supposed to be safe?
When my son deployed this fall on a naval ship I knew in my mind that all would probably be well. However, to be honest watching that ship sink smaller into the horizon left me with a pit in my stomach. I wanted to jump in the ocean and bring him back. I think about him every night before I go to sleep. I wonder where he is. I wonder if he will be safe while in port. No, I am sure I do not have the same fear as a mother of a service member in Afghanistan or Iraq, but fear is still fear.
When my son came home from boot camp, he told me that he is not allowed to travel in uniform. Why? Beause he is a target. A target? My Son?
Last week we found out just how much of a target our children are. It is shameful, but real. It is why I lay awake at night.
I was just thinking the other day about how lucky we are as parents of deployed children to be able to communicate with them during deployment. Do not get me wrong. It is still very hard to sleep with the phone, check email countless times and yes, I am sure we all know what it is like to “stalk” the mailman.
I recently spoke with some Patriot Guard friends who lived through the Vietnam area. They reminded me to be thankful for communication we enjoy these days as they like their counterparts in WWII and other previous wars had rely on a written letter. Skype was far from being a possibility in those days.
Now, we also have the overwhelming influence of Social Networking sights. I can hardly believe I can logon to FaceBook everyday and see pictures posting from the ship. Not to mention the Capt of the ship occasionally will post updates. I search Twitter everyday for info and I have been able to connect with other families with loved ones on this ship. Why, I almost set my 80-year-mother on FaceBook. She declined and just decided to follow the Shutterfly site I have set up where I add all the news stories and pictures I find concerning the deployment.
I saw a tweet from a pregnant wife appealing to the ship to contact her deployed sailor because she is ready to give birth and her husband had not called since the ship sailed. Unbelievably, the ship replied and told her to email privately and the contact person on the ship said he would see what he could do. That did not happen in previous conflicts.
The point is that even though it is still very hard for us to sit and wait, nearly shower with the phone, exhaust every search phrase on Google and make the mailman want to change routes, we are very lucky and blessed. We are all in the boat together as were all the parents, wives, children…before us.
I recently heard about an organization that is trying to establish a national symbol of gratitude to fallen military members along with providing a visible reminder to all Americans. That symbol will be a flag that honors all who have given their life in defense of our freedom.
Honorandremember.org has designed the flag with a gold star upon which is an eternal flame on a red and white background. Printed on the flag are the words, Honor and Remember. The flags are available for purchase through Honorandremember.org. They come in two sizes and you can choose between a screen printed flag or a hand-stitched appliquéd flag. There are even motorcycle flags for all you bikers out there!
Congressman Randy Forbes from Virginia introduced HR 1034, a bill to make this flag a national symbol. You can help buy signing the petition on Honorandremember.org. The United States does not have a nation symbol that honors the sacrifice made by the men and women who gallantly defend our country.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Fleet Reserve Association, the Military Officers Association of America, the Air Force Security Forces Association, and the Naval Reserve Association currently endorse the Honor and Remember flag.
By signing the petition you are helping in the movement to have the flag congressionally and militarily sanctioned as a permanent symbol to fly continuously in eternal honor and remembrance of all fallen military service men and women.
I think this is a wonderful idea, as we cannot do enough to honor those who made a commitment to everyone of us. Please go sign the petition and give this gift to our heroes and their families. In honor, they served. In honor, they sacrificed. Let us never forget them.
Proud Mom 3
ProudMom3 lost a grandchild this week. Please keep her, and her family, in your thoughts and prayers. Julie – we all send our condolences and love.