As a college student in Fayetteville, the city butted up against Fort Bragg, I didn't always get woken up by my alarm clock. Imagine air maneuvers and cargo planes flying by over head...or rounds from training missions exploding miles away. I sat in class elbow to elbow with men and women who regularly wore some part of their fatigues or a symbol that marked them as military brethren. Whenever I saw one I was honored. I knew what they were giving up, but barely recognized the scope of what their life was like.
It broke my heart to hear one man say that he'd gone to Desert Storm, waiting for the day he could return state side and hold his wife, only to come back and discover she was pregnant by another man. Sure this happens in books and games all the time as a plotline...but this was real life, real raw emotion inches from me. Needless to say I've never forgotten that day.
I have friends who are ex-military, and friends who write about military characters, and some that overlap in those two spheres. Both respect the men and women who serve our country, feel for the families also caught up in the battles, and strive to do what they can to fly yellow ribbons in more than the literal sense. Everywhere we turn we're sure to hear or see someone who is affected by the war being raged. Whether it's personally face-to-face, in the paper, or on television during the usual Memorial Day special.
On Monday I plan to honor our soldiers' bravery and courage by thanking them for my freedom which didn't come free. I will praise them for their sense of brotherhood to guard each other's back, I will praise their families who continue to make such monumental sacrifices, I will praise them for listening to their hearts and not always their heads, and praise them for helping write our destiny in these turbulent times.