Across the nation we see and hear “Support Our Troops.” While searching the Internet you will find thousands of results for groups, organizations, and individuals offering support for our troops or ways we can Support Our Troops. To many this is just a slogan, something to hitch their wagon to, a soap box to climb up to attract attention to themselves.
I am an American and proud to be one although I am not always proud of the things we do. I am also a veteran of the United States Navy and feel honored to have served our Nation. I do Support Our Troops with all my heart and soul. You see, in addition to being an American and veteran, I am also proud to be the mother of a United States Air Force serviceman. This is one mother’s story and one of several reasons why I Support Our Troops.
The first few years of my son’s life I knew he was very special. He was always calm and peaceful. As he grew he became a delight to be around. Ever willing to help, soaking up new experiences and information like a sponge. Very rare was it for him to cause concern.
While it is common for the typical teenager to think they are smarter than their parents it was not so with my son. I knew he was smarter than me, way smarter. But he never held it over my head, never made me feel inferior. By the time he was a young adult I looked at him as someone I would love whether he was my son or not. His natural sense of humor provided hours of joy and entertainment. He was smart, funny, caring, and handsome too. Just about as near to perfect as a person could be.
Then the bomb dropped! He was considering joining one of the armed services. We spent hours discussing the options and knowing him and his analytical mind he spent many more hours in thought.
The day he made his final decision to enlist in the Untied States Air Force I was proud. One of my favorite sayings in those days was, “The Air Force knows how smart he is. They will keep his skinny little butt safe”.
On the night he left for boot camp we had family and friends to the house for dinner. I tried to fix all his favorites. I was not allowed to go to the airport to see him off. He left me with, “I know how you are and don’t want you to embarrass yourself – or me”.
Of course he was right – the emotional cry baby that I am. His recruiter drove him to the airport. It ripped my heart out to see him leave but I was proud of him and had vowed to support him.
I received a very nice card from the USAF recruiter. “Thank you for giving us your fine son and for supporting him”. Speaking to the card I argued, “I didn’t give him to you, he’s just on loan but I’ll keep supporting him and all the troops.
Then came the first 30 second phone call. “Mom here’s the number to call if there’s an emergency. I can’t tell you where I’m going. I love you. Good-bye!”
For the first time in 20 years I had no idea on earth where my son was. Literally I had no clue where he was or when I would hear from him again or see him. This was when the realization hit me. While I had been praying for my son there were thousands of other service men, women, spouses, children, and parents going through the same thing. My prayers started going out for all of them along with my son.
Over the years I got more 30 second phone calls. I don’t get them anymore, his beautiful wife gets them now. Each time he has come home safe, we are blessed, there are many who do not. For over 10 years now I have prayed for our troops and their families and thank the thousands of others who do the same, who Support Our Troops including my son.
To those people on the soap boxes flashing “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers or wearing that yellow ribbon who don’t think about what the true meaning is I have one thing to say.
Take a minute to thank the men and women serving now and in the past for the freedom you have to voice your opinion or show off that bumper sticker or ribbon.