Tags: Fourth of July, Heroes, Holidays, In the News, Soldiers
Editor’s Note: I wanted to share with you guys the guest post I did for EP over at Stylish Handwriting. If you are not reading her, you should! She is one of my favorite 20somethings! Happy Fourth!
It’s official. And it is not good. I have hit another anniversary that I never wanted to celebrate.
I realized today that this will be the fifth Fourth of July holiday that I will have someone I love in the sands of Iraq or Afghanistan. Five years of men who I love, who I care about, and who I will worry about in the desert. They are in battle situations, on hazardous roads, and surviving miles away from their loved ones. They are hot, tired, homesick, and trying to do a job most Americans do not understand and most don’t agree with.
It all began with my Hubby, my man, my soulmate. He left on the day I graduated for college in May of ’03 and did not return until August of ’05. He was gone for two Fourth of July Holidays, two very lonely, very difficult holidays. While he was there, he was part of a Military Police Battalion. They were the guys who did the security, the daily escorts on the “road of death” airport road, the prisoner guarding and exchanging. He kicked down his share of doors, went on patrols with over fifty lbs. of gear on his back, survived countless mortar attacks, and did it all in 120+ heat. My Hubby is my hero.
The next two years saw my cousin and my uncle also in the sands of the desert. Both are engineers, one was in Iraq, one was in Afghanistan. They are husbands to my aunt and my cousin on my Mom’s side. They are my family. They built roads and schools. They tried to provide a better life for the people of the Middle East. They trained others to rebuild their countries. They played a pivotal role in not only rebuilding structures, but in rebuilding hope. My cousin left two children under five and his High School sweetheart. My uncle left grandchildren, a full time working farm, and my aunt, to whom he had only been married to a short time. My cousin and my uncle are my heroes.
Now, this year, one of my best friends from High School is sitting in the deserts of Northern Baghdad, and he is as happy as he can be to be there. He is a helicopter pilot who has trained, prepared, and planned for this deployment for years. He is the soldier who still believes in the mission. He believes there is a better way for the people of Iraq. He believes in the cause. He is willing to fight and to die for it. My only solace is that he spends most of his time off of the ground and away from the roadside bombs. Now, all I have to worry about is Rocket Propelled Grenades and missile launchers. My friend is my hero.
I don’t tell you all of these things to bring attention to a cause I believe in. If you know me, you know different. I don’t tell you these things to bring attention to the friends and family who have sacrificed greatly. They would not want me to. I tell you these things so that you remember that amongst the fireworks, the BBQs, and the day off from work there is a sacrifice being made by someone, somewhere, so that you can be free. Take a moment to think about them and their families and the sacrifices they and others like them are making and have made . . . for you.