Not sure what it is but when the universe really wants me to pay attention to something there really is no other way around it. I’m stealing this question from a recent Oprah show I watched but how many of us actually know someone in the military serving overseas right now? How many of us think about those soldiers who are fighting for our safety and freedom every day? Prior to my cousin, Drew, going overseas for his first time I really hadn’t thought about the war that much nor did I “know” anyone serving. Its like when you start thinking about buying a certain car and then all of a sudden you see that particular model on the road and highway all the time. That’s how I feel about our soldiers and their families – they are now constantly on my mind.
Since Drew’s deployment just before Christmas I have been asked to work on a project that to some capacity involves the US Military and how best we can create awareness around this particular organization. I don’t want to mention any details just yet but promise to do so when the project is launched. Also, I recently watched the Oprah Show episode about the bravest families in America featuring; Tom Brokaw, Bob Woodward, and First Lady Michelle Obama. In this episode we met families where the husband was away at war and severely injured, a mother who lost her son during active duty, and a military wife and mother who is constantly moving from city to city supporting her family while her husband is at war. I was so moved by these stories and of course during moments I broke into tears.
The biggest “take-away” that I learned from this show was that there are still so many families being effected every day by the war and many of them don’t have the support that they greatly deserve. What can we do? This was my favorite part of the show and the one that I’m most excited to take some action in my own neighborhood. The littlest things matter and recognizing your neighbors who have family members in battle is easy when they post such banners in their windows at their home. You can give these neighbors a simple Thank You note, shovel their driveway, ask if you can send their family member a care package and what they like to get from home. Again, the littlest things can make the biggest difference. One local company is ensuring that our soldiers get a free Welcome-Home party to thank them and to give them a taste of Cincinnati. Gold Star Chili calls this program, “Serving Our Troops.” I think there is a two-week notification period but this seems like a great way to get 19 friends + soldier in one place for a little Cincinnati-style party.
I also want to recognize Military wives who are supporting their family while their husbands are away at war. I have such a friend who is now getting ready to move to a new city and home her fourth time in four years and she thinks this is good compared to others. I think that is crazy and can’t seem to think of my life being uprooted that many times in 4 years. I commend these women who not only are living their lives without their significant other but they are also trying to help their spouse transition back into their normal everyday life that live day after day without them while they are at war. Can you imagine re-introducing your husband to the morning routine before the kids go off to school because he has been overseas for 18 months?
I am finally realizing the sacrifices that those who serve and their families make everyday. Thank you to my cousin, Drew, and thank you to the many other men and women who allow the rest of us to feel safe and free everyday.