This post is inspired by Patricia Feager's Monday's Messenger
In that post Patricia asked a veteran what they thought we could do to show more support to our military. His answer was he knew what he was signing up for, but his family who get left behind when he leaves didn't.
My son sent us this photo on his second tour of Iraq, he neglected to mention it was his Humvee, he is standing on the right. This was their first rip outside the wire on their second tour. His unit was a special forces unit and they were the sharp end of the spear, outside and exposed continuously. On his first tour, he lost 12 friends and colleagues.
As a family, Mom, Dad, brothers and related friends we obviously supported him, but we all did it in our own way. We also all had our own fears.
He has told us we would always be notified if anything happened to him, someone would come to tell us. His mother basically did not sleep, continuously tracked injuries and deaths, watching for unit then waiting for more news. I avoided coming home, and when I did I was scanning the neighborhood for unusual cars to see if they were filled with Marines waiting to come and tell us something had happened.
We had a friend who dreamed if he sent an email something really bad was going to happen to our son. So as guilty as he felt for not emailing he did not. He shared this superstition with us and we totally understood.
The biggest take away from our son, even with all the support, the care packages etc was after one of his best friends was killed.
Why do we wait till someone dies to talk about how much they mean to us and what a great person they are and what they have done. Only when they die do we gather in a football stadium in their hometown to say how much they mean to us.
So today I encourage all of us, because as I read recently, honestly we all have a thread hanging over us separating us from death. Tell those around you how much they mean to you. Don't go off in anger and regret if something happens. Hug those who need a hug. Realize none of us really knows what is going on in the lives of those who are acting like jerks. Yes, they may just be a jerk, but also something else may be going on that needs a little more understanding.
Don't be afraid to tell someone you love them this Valentine's Day. They may need to really, really hear it.
I thought I would update this. Jeremy is no longer in the Marines. He did write a book Kicking Ace, Taking Names, by Jeremy Vandekar available on Amazon and all royalties are donated to charity.