“How long will you be gone this time?” He can see the worry start to set in on his wife’s face. She’s already thinking of how she’s going to deal with the little ones in his absence. She’s anticipating the questions from their son: “when is daddy coming home?”, “why did he leave?”, “why doesn’t he want to stay with me?” He’s not old enough yet to understand it’s part of the job. Their daughter, just a few months old, will have her first teeth and be rolling over by the time he comes home. Upon his return, his baby girl will wonder who the strange man with a mustache is.
This story is played out over and over every year in the United States Military. Deployments affect the entire family. While the deployed military member is away, life goes on at home – it must go on. The family does its best to fill the void left by the absence of a mom or dad, but the void is felt regardless of how well it may be filled.
While Veteran’s Day is a day to celebrate and thank the uniformed men and women of our country, we need to also reflect upon the sacrifices and hardships of those who did not sign up to go to war: the families left behind.
Military life is not easy. It requires discipline and dedication of a magnitude most will never understand – and it is required on a daily basis.
To our veterans and their families: thank you. It’s not easy, but we rely on you to get the job done every single day. You are appreciated more than you know!