Politics aside, I believe most Americans want one thing for sure – for our troops to come home. I came across this photo while placing a Snapfish order today. It was taken last September 2004. I thought to myself, "God, it’s been a year and nothing has changed. But did I think it really would? Would it be all wrapped up in a neat little package?"
This sign was on our lawn for only 1 day. We woke up the next morning to find it had been tore down and some nice people had thrown eggs at our house. Brandon loves to remind me that he was against the idea of sharing our political views with the rest of the neighborhood from the very beginning. At least we get to keep our flag up, god willing nobody wants to come tear that down too.
Back to our troops. I was hoping they’d be home now. It’s been almost 4 years since this whole mess began. As the years have gone by, my views have changed. On some topics I’ve become more educated. On others, I’ve been likely influenced by the people in my life and their own views.
When September 11th happened, I was horribly conflicted. It was a very tragic event, but I just couldn’t jump on the band-wagon to get back at whoever had done this. I was college student, self-described Democrat and lived in a pretty liberal Northern Nevada area. I hated that Toby Keith song with the lyrics of "sticking a boot in your ass"…though many I knew liked singing along and felt it was a perfectly patriotic anthem. The whole 9/11 event and the emerging war seemed far away from my life. I luckily had no one I knew lost to the event and the only change that really affected me was really long lines at the airport. I knew my life would never be the same, yet it was still very much the same.
But, slowly, people in my life changed. Circumstances and experiences transitioned…
I then had many people I knew and loved involved in some branch of the military or service. A boyfriend stationed in Florida that I worried would get deployed. My roommate’s fiance was finishing up officer training in the Marine Corps…the list went on. Suddenly, all of the issues that didn’t seem relevant to me, became very important.
Then, 2 years ago, I met Brandon after he had been out of the Air Force for about a year. He had been in for 7 years and had traveled the world. His specialty was working with explosives and worked as what they call "EOD". (Here’s a brief job description if you’re interested). He also spent time in Bosnia during their civil war (that’s still on-going between the Serbians and Albanians). Listening to some of his stories has deeply affected me. Many are sad. Many are inspiring. All of them make me believe that our servicemen are true heroes.
He has many friends that are still serving in EOD. We get emails from friends in Baghdad, Afganistan and other places I can’t even pronounce but usually have some sort of "istan" on the end. We worry while they are away, we are happy when the get home. They show us pictures and tell us stories. Life returns to normal for some time…And now we wait to hear the date of their next deployment. It’s not an "if," it’s a "when." We hope for a different deployment that is in a support area of the Middle East rather than Afghanistan or Iraq. After that, we hope that it’s Afghanistan rather than Iraq. After that, it’s just hope.
One good friend he was stationed in Germany with, just had his leg and hand blown off while disposing of some improvised ordnance in a mine field in Afghanistan. Brandon just got the call last week as we were boarding a plane to Nashville. And you know what his friend did when he called his wife to tell her? "Well, honey, at least I still have my balls."
It’s easy to support a President, and $$ to support this war, and the ideals set-forth for the reason for this war when they are so closely related to you. At this point, it would be stupid for me to question what this is all for.
Why I am posting these random stories and thoughts? Because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want you to forget. Our troops our over there protecting us from future harm. They are sacrificing their limbs, their lives and their loved ones in order to do a greater good and bring a life of freedom to nations.
4 years have gone by and the yellow ribbons are few. Good stories about the good our soldiers are doing are few and far in between the negative news our media pushes. People want answers, they want plans, they want to criticize.
At the end of the day, I pray for our President. For God to steer him where he sees fit. I pray for our troops, that they have strength to face another day, that they are able to continue the good works they do, and that they are able to come home safely when the task is complete. I leave it all in his hands, in his plan.
Want to read Ben Stein’s good article on our true heroes? Check it out on Elizabeth’s blog. As she said, it’s long, but worth it.
Finally to my friends…please, no eggs in the comments section. :)
EDITED TO ADD: Another part of Brandon’s job was as security detail. He had the privlidge of escorting many imporant people and dignitaries, but also people and celebrities on behalf of the USO. You can support the USO’s efforts and learn more about the organization here. Their motto: "Until Every One Comes Home."