I realize I have been relatively quiet for a while, but summer is actually a fairly busy time for us at work. Finishing things up for the school year and getting ready for the next year. However, today I am going to talk about something non-technical.
Friday night my youngest daughter and I went out to the Special Events Center on Fort Carson. Four hundred soldiers of 4th Infantry Division 2nd Brigade Combat Team came home from Iraq. We were there meet and bring home with us a soldier my oldest daughter had met before going into the Army herself. Now we hadn't met this soldier yet, but my daughter had, and had been talking to him online and on the phone when he had the opportunity to call from Iraq.
As I stood inside the Special Event Center, I saw family and friends of returning soldiers. Some were dressed to the nines, others in shirts and jeans. Some kids wore t-shirts with the name of their mom or dad who was returning. There was much excitement and anticipation, and you could literally feel it in the air. To help pass the time for the young kids there was even a jumper that the kids could play in while waiting. Music was playing, some people (particularly young kids in elementary and middle school, but some older) dancing. Everyone had signs to welcome home their loved ones. Some of the songs were patriotic country songs that I'll admit brought tears to my eyes as I thought about the sacrifices made by both the soldiers and their families.
Then they finally arrived. They marched in while Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" played. The cheering that accompanied both was loud and raucous. All became quite once they were all in the Special Events Center and they then played our National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," which end with much more applause. Following a prayer and a speech by the Commanding General of Fort Carson, the soldiers were dismissed. That is when the real reunions started. Wives and husbands and children hugging each other, some soldiers looking for friends or family until they too were found. My daughter and I stood there with a small sign with just a soldiers name. He found us and we left the Center to our car and he gathered his things.
As we left, we passed a soldier who looked as if he had been crying, don't know why. Perhaps no one was there to welcome him home, or maybe he was just happy to be home. I don't know.
What I do know is this, we need to do more for this men and women in the military and their families. We say thanks to them when we see them in the stores or restaurants, or airports. Some people have even picked up their tab for dinners. We need to more if we can. What more can I do right now, I don't know but I will try to find something more to honor them. It may even be nothing more at the moment than pray for them and their safety. But more I will try to do, and not just because my daughter now too serves her country.
I don't want those who live in other countries to think I am only thinking of our military at this time, I'm not. The we I am talking about is all of us and the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen I am truly talking about are those that serve in the military of any country, regardless of ideology or politics.
The next time you see one, even if you don't say Thank You to them, remember that they have made a commitment to serve and protect your country, and honor them.
To all the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen; Thank you for your selflessness and sacrifice by both you and your families. Some have given the ultimate sacrifice and they too must be honored. Freedom isn't free and there must be those who stand ready when the call is made. Thank you.