As we close out the month of April, which is also the Month of the Military Child, I wanted to take a moment to honor those children (young and old) whose parents are serving or have served in the military. Last night, I had a dream that I was fighting a war aboard a cruise-style ship. We were neatly arranged on both sides of the ship–our side and the opponents, and we had to shoot arrows across to the other side. It was similar to the last scene in the movie, Hero. Males went first to shoot the arrows. Then females.
I’m not so sure why the dream took this form, but I am pretty sure of why the dream came to me because I’ve been thinking a lot about warriors in their many forms– the figurative and the literal, those who fight for our country and those who fight to make the world a better place.
Ever since I first learned about the Month of the Military Child from watching the video above, and from visiting the Department of Defense site, I became enamored with the idea of honoring military children in some way. Once you visit the site, you will see some of the cutest pictures of children either talking on the phone to their parents who are away, or children being reunited with their parents who have returned home from serving overseas. Just look at the photo essays and fall in love.
When I looked at those children, my mind raced instantly back to a time when I was in second grade. My babysitter, Marlene, had a nephew, Paul, who had been serving in the Persian Gulf. He was returning home after being away for quite a few months. This was the first time I had been so personally impacted by someone entering and returning from the military. I remember that his Mother, Tena, had called the local CBS station to have them cover his homecoming.
On the day he was returning, all of our families gathered at the airport. This was during the time when you could still wait in the terminal. The local media was there. I remember getting annoyed that they kept giving the other family–also awaiting their soldier’s return– more attention than they were giving us, especially considering that we were the ones who had called them in the first place. I also remember looking out the big picturesque window on that very sunny day with blue skies.
When Paul arrived, there were plenty of tears. His Mom hugged him first. She draped her arms around him. We had balloons and flowers awaiting him. We all eventually got our hugs in.
Days later I found the courage to ask him something that I had only told my babysitter I’d wanted to ask him: “Could I bring you for show and tell?” He said yes. See, the journalist in me was working even then.
Dressed in full uniform, he spoke to my class about his experience in Saudi Arabia. We were an eager bunch, and he answered our questions. I remember being so proud.
Paul’s son, James, was just an infant when he returned. Since then, Paul and his wife Christine had three more children–Joshua, Jasmine, and Jacob. They are all my God siblings. They are also all growing into fine young adults now. Today, I am honoring them as well as all of the Military Children out there.
May God bless and keep you.