Wednesday, November 11, 2009
A Mom Salutes
We are a military family since our daughter Rene`entered the United States Navy on August 11, 2003. I think that I will forever be a military mom and I carry that label with honor, once you become military you remain there always.
Rene` began her service before she had turned eighteen so I and her dad had to sign the forms for her. That is something that I would hove never thought that I would do,let alone do for one of my daughters, but given the fact that she had carefully thought out her plan, she was responsible, hard working, and intelligent I let her carry on as she desired.
She was in boot camp on her eighteenth birthday marching and taking the swimming and diving tests which she passed easily since she had been on the high school swim team for six years and knew what she was doing. She completed basic training in October and was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Just four months later her ship was deployed to somewhere. In the Navy you never know where they are going or how long they will be gone, but they ended up in France, Italy, Croatia, and the Middle East before it was all over. Every day I prayed that they would be able to complete with courage, the mission and return home safely.They are gone and you get about twenty-four notice upon their return. That meant that we were packed and on the road in less than an hour in order to be in Virginia Beach when the ship came in.
I will never forget the warm spring day in May, when the ship pulled into the harbor as they returned from deployment. The shore was packed with families waiting. There were infants dressed in sailor suits, flags and banners to welcome the sailors home, and people everywhere wearing red, white, and blue. We waited it seems like forever, while they carefully maneuvered that huge ship into position, and anchored it in place. We searched the decks hoping to spot our sailor among the hundreds. They were all dressed in their summer dress whites so they all looked alike. When the captain announced "liberty for all" the sea of white disembarked in mass. There were tears of joy, hugs, and kisses, and a massive sense of relief that they had all come home safely.
Our daughter was deployed two more times and spent three of the four years she served at sea. We had to carry on at home while she was gone and we tried to include her in every way we could. You will never know how valuable a phone card, access to a computer, or the Red Cross is unless you have someone deployed. We sent care packages which were greatly appreciated when they finally got there. Her birthday gifts did not get to her until six weeks after her birthday, but deodorant, a tooth brush, and some sunscreen were welcome gifts from home along with some art work her little sisters had made and school pictures.
Rene` is on reserve duty now and attending school in North Dakota only about six hours away from home. I now know where she is every day and that she is out of harms way which gives me much peace as her mom. I know that she learned a lot serving her country and brought home with her a great appreciation for being an American. We as a family have that same understanding as we have been on the military journey. Not a day goes by that I don`t give thanks for those people and their families who have served our country,serve today, and will serve tomorrow. They are all truly heroes who allow us all a wonderful life filled with much freedom. It is a privilege to be Americans!