Veteran’s Day evokes a sense of loyalty and sacrifice, but the pathos and losses behind the scene cannot be forgotten.
Many of my family members have served in the military, and the years served overseas or away from their families serving our country adds up to over a decade. So I recently asked my father to recall how our family has been involved in the military theater throughout the past century.
During WWII, his father, Frank O. Page, Sr., spent five years in the army as Regimental Sergeant Major. Frank Sr.’s brother, Herbert Page, enlisted for heavy bomber flight training and flew 32 missions over the Himalayan Mountains from India to China to resupply the war effort. The dangerous 530-mile long passage took its toll, including losses of 1,000 men and 600 planes. Even though my great uncle survived, he has never talked about it or gotten on a plane since.
My mother’s father, Charles Foster, completed his army training to become a tank co-driver at Fort Knox, KY. My Grandfather was promoted to Sergeant and served as the personal assistant to the chief of chaplains of the Third Armored Division. He set the record for the Sergeant who attended the most church services each Sunday since he attended the services of five different denominations each Sunday.
These stories struck me because these same experiences from early in the 20th century are still being lived out today.
My brother-in-law is currently serving in Afghanistan on his third overseas tour. He has been away this time for over a year, and two months ago his first child, baby Jane, was born. He came home briefly to see her sweet face enter the world, and two weeks later was back with his men overseas, leaving his very brave wife at home with a newborn.
I say that not to evoke pity for taking care of a newborn alone or a soldier dutifully leaving to serve but to shed light on a very real situation that so many military wives face every day. It is a bit mind-boggling to think about adding up all of the time all of our soldiers in our country have spent away from their families.
About a year ago I was selfishly frustrated that my husband was still in the army with no end in sight. With two small children at home it takes so much time away from our already crazy lives, and there is always the fear of re-deployment. When I asked my husband, “Why are you staying in the military” he said, “Because my guys need me, and I want to lead and serve them for our country.” I can’t argue with that, nor should I. It is a code of loyalty all soldiers share that can’t be broken.
There are thousands just like him all over our country doing the exact same thing everyday; sacrificing their lives and time away from their families to serve our country. Many families in our E-Mealz community are living this out today.
The core focus of E-Mealz is bringing families together around the dinner table. As you sit around your table tonight and through the weekend, please pause and take a moment to remember those tables around our country that are minus one… minus one family member… one soldier who is away proudly and selflessly serving our country and willing to sacrifice their lives, even in the ultimate way, so that we can freely enjoy ours.