Monday, April 20, 2009
The price of Freedom
My son left for a one year tour of duty in Afghanistan today.
Since taking office in January, President Barack Obama has ordered an additional 21,000 U.S. troops to be deployed to Afghanistan, which will bring the full U.S. deployment there to a total of 60,000 troops, joining 39,000 coalition troops from 43 countries.
I'm very proud of my son, but I think of all the wives and young children who are also making sacrifices. Did you know there are 600,000 American children under the age of 5 who are living with a parent deployed in war? For many of these children, their lives will be changed forever.
I'm every bit as proud of my daughter-in-law and my two tiny grandsons for the sacrifices they must make. It's a sad truth that those who wait, also serve. The boys had such a hard time saying goodbye and on the way home, Gregory asked his mom, 'who will keep us safe now?'
I ache for them tonight as they all look at the empty spot at the dinner table. The evenings must be the hardest time of the day.
My daughter-in-law is going to have to go through so many changes and hardships this year all by herself - in addition to experiencing the stress of sudden separation, constant worry about her husband's safety, and dealing with the chores of single parenthood. And I know the children, as young as they are, are asked to be brave. There must be so much they don't truly understand. I wish I was closer to hug them all. It is hard being half a world away from my loved ones.