©2008 - 2016 By Bronson Herrmuth
A couple of weeks ago I had to go to the airport to pick up a friend who was flying in for a visit. I found a place in the parking garage and headed for the terminal along with a hundred others coming and going to their destinations. That's when I saw the soldier.
It was the young woman with him that first caught my attention. I immediately assumed she was his wife, the way she was clinging to the soldiers arm and sobbing so uncontrollably that she could hardly walk. He had his arm wrapped around her supporting her and in his other arm was a newborn infant, which he held so close and cradled to his chest. The soldiers uniform was impeccable, his army boots shined like mirrors and he wore a green beret. He was obviously concentrating hard to hold his emotions in check and to be strong for his family, but his skin was ashen. Walking beside them was an older couple that I sensed were this soldiers parents. The mother had tears running down her face and was holding so tightly to her husbands arm with one hand, and her other arm was draped across the back of her soldier son as they made there way to the terminal. Following close behind them was another young lady who I took for a sister. She was silently weeping and holding the hand of a toddler who scurried along trying to keep up. Walking with her was a teenage boy that I guessed to be the younger brother, and he was laboring under the weight of a large military duffel bag hung over his shoulder. Attached to the strap of the bag was a manilla envelope which surely contained the orders of assignment for the soldier. I realized then that I was witnessing a young man heading off to war and being escorted by a proud, but very scared family, that knew they may never see their precious loved one again.
I was moved by the scene before me. My first impulse was to catch up with them to shake this soldiers hand and to thank him for his service but instinctively I stopped myself, realizing this was not the time or place and knowing I would be intruding on a very personal moment in this familys life. At that same moment it hit me that what I was witnessing was a scene being played out in many airports and homes across our great country on a daily basis. Our young men and women, our sons and daughters, heading off to an unknown destiny half way across the world to put their lives on the line to protect people they don't even know. So many American families having to deal with all that comes with the harsh reality of having someone so dear to them, so desperately needed by them, called to fight in a war far way, and in a foreign land. No way of knowing how long they'll be gone and facing the terrible fear that their beloved soldier may never return. Trying so hard to be brave and keep their composure as they treasure every second they have left together, not wanting to say goodbye to their dear soldier.
No matter ones political beliefs, I believe we have to do all we can to help support these soldiers and their families. We can't be blind to the very real hardships they are facing and it doesn't matter why or how they got there or who sent them. The fact is America is at war, and our soldiers are under fire in a foreign land standing under our flag and facing danger, while their families back home struggle to get by while hoping and praying for their safe return. These soldiers didn't start any of this and have no say in the political argument. They go where they are told to go and they fight as they were trained with the equipment our leaders provide them. This war isn't their fault and they deserve no ill will from any of us for being there when called to duty. They deserve our prayers, total support, and commitment, for as long as they are asked to serve, no matter the political party in charge of our government or where the battles may be.
I know with all that's going on in our country and around the world today, it's easy to forget about our soldiers. Everyone having to face their own problems and worry about their own families in these financially troubled times. Add to that the presidential election and all that goes with it and the media coverage of the war gets lost behind all the political hype, campaign commercials, and attack ads. It seems to me that the majority of people I talk to never even mention the war anymore or make any reference to our soldiers, unless I bring it up first in our conversations. It's like it's not even happening until it directly touches their family, their loved ones, their friends. When someone close to them gets called up to go to war, then it becomes personal and gets their attention again.
I'm glad I was at the airport that day to pay a silent tribute to this soldier and his family on such an important day in their lives. Being part of that inspired me to write this about them and to rethink my own involvement and participation on the home front in support of our soldiers here and abroad. I know I need to do more and I intend to. If even one person reading this was to say a prayer, make a donation, volunteer to assist, support an event in their honor, that would be so cool. I know when I was serving overseas on an aircraft carrier back in the 70's, going to mail call and getting a letter or a care package was a huge boost for my moral. It can get awful lonely so many miles from home and the ones you love so dearly, even for a brave and gallant soldier.