Friday, June 11, 2010

4th of July

So the 4th of July is coming up...and this has always been one of my favorite "holidays." Always. As a little girl I loved the fireworks, the watermelon, the BBQ. Both of my beloved grandfathers served in the military- My PawPaw in the Army, and my PawJim in the Marines. So there was always an underlying sense that the day was about more than just food and fun. But I never really got it. Even into my teen years and college days, it was really more of an opportunity to gather with family and friends, with a little reflection on patriotism and what it means to be an American.

But when I met my husband Cole, that all changed. Cole is a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter pilot for the US Army. He has served overseas multiple times, including 15 months in Iraq. He served his tour in Iraq while we were still dating. July 4, 2007 was the first 4th I celebrated with a true understanding of the day. I get very emotional on Independence Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day (which is Monday!)...I now understand that it is because of our military that we have the freedom to celebrate these days. And the irony is that those who, I guess have the most "right" or the most reasons to celebrate these days, can't. Because they are fighting on those days to keep our right to celebrate going.

I don't mean to say that people who are not "married to the military" are not patriotic or don't understand what it means to be an American. But I didn't until I fell in love with a soldier.

I was recently at Bunko (I love my Bunko group!) and we had a sweet girl subbing in that night. She is a nurse, and her husband is a pastor. We were chatting and she asked me what Cole does for a living, and I told her. She said "oh wow! That is a really cool job!!!" And I thought, "I guess it does sound like it." But the reality is far from the image. People see him in his uniform, flying his (very impressive, I think) Blackhawk. It sounds so cool and very romantic. But the part that people don't see is the time away from his family. The fact that he had to record himself reading books so that he could read to our daughter when he isn't home (which is often), the fact that sometimes the only thing he wants most is the one thing he can't have- a kiss from his wife and baby girl. I am so proud of him, and I support his service 100%...but it is still a hard life. I have known my husband since January 2006. And I have yet to spend my birthday with him. Thank you Army! :) Sigh...but it is the days and time apart that make the days and time together so very special.

And just today I was reminded how important his service is. We had MAJOR flooding in southern Arkansas last night, close to where I went to college. A rural campsite flooded, and at least 20 campers are dead, and 30-40 are still missing. Cole is serving elsewhere right now, but members of Cole's unit were called into search for the missing. This is a call that we have gotten many times before. Dinner plans have been changed, outings canceled....not because my husband had a last minute meeting or anything, but because he was needed to save a life. SAVE A LIFE. Katrina, he flew roof-top rescues. Bosnia & Iraq he flew medevac missions- and the Taliban doesn't care if there is a red cross on your helicopter- they shoot anyway! My husband saves lives. Wow. I thank God for him everyday. How did I get so blessed to be married to my hero???

And speaking of blessings....see our little Miss America? She was sitting in her daddy's helicopter! This picture is part of his Father's Day gift. He hasn't seen these yet...but he doesn't read the blog so I think I am safe to share! LOL!

God Bless America!!!


Jessica said...

Great photo and thanks for all YOU have given to our country. I am thankful for you, Cole, and Ava! What a blessing your family is to us all!