Thursday, 11 November 2010

Freedom Isn't Free

american flag Pictures, Images and Photos

We're usually pretty much all about ranting and groaning and griping here on Four Strong Women, albeit with a humorous take--a laugh at ourselves, basically--but today is going to be a bit different. It's Veteran's Day and we all owe a big THANK YOU to those brave men and women who have served our country so well.

I personally don't have a family member in the military--never have. But I live near one of the largest military installations in the world, and every day I see someone in uniform. Not a day goes by that I don't think of how those ordinary people become so extraordinary when they lay down their lives for the freedom we all enjoy here in the United States.

It's not enough that they keep all of us safe here on the home soil, but they leave their families and travel to distant lands where they stay for months at a time to keep other people--cultures foreign to them--safe as well. I can't imagine how they cope. And I've tried. They are truly special people.

One of my best buddies online is author, Debbie Gould. Her daughter, Renee, joined the Air Force nine years ago. Her swearing in and final paperwork signing was to take place on that now infamous day-- 9/11. A few days later Renee's recruiter called to reschedule, but it seems he wanted her to think long and hard about what she was getting herself into. Why? Well, we all know what attacking American soil meant. It meant war and Renee would surely be tossed into that war at the tender age of eighteen. I can't fathom what went through her mind, but I have a pretty good idea as to what went through Debbie's.

Renee didn't blink an eye. Her determination to serve her country had become even stronger since the attack, and without reservation, joined up. She's had to travel right much due to deployment. It seems just like yesterday that Debbie was sharing pics of Renee with me of her in Afghanistan. While away, Debbie takes care of Renee's little boy, and I love each and every pic of that child Debbie posts to me.

Renee will be taking off for Afghanistan again in March, and once more, Debbie will take on the responsibility of her grandson. I think about the upheaval in their lives and wonder sometimes just how they handle it. But this family seems to do it with a great deal of strength and dignity, and a lot of passion for what's important.

I have a boy who is going on fifteen. And for as long as I can remember, he's talked about joining the military. His plans have not changed from year to year as some kids' goals in life will. It's all he wants to do. Sometimes when I hear him talk, have to think about it, I get a little knot in my stomach--and a voice in my head whispers, "please, let him change his mind". But if I'm to be truly honest with myself, I know he won't change his mind. And that's how I know what was going through Debbie's head when Renee made the decision to walk into harm's way.

I dedicate this post to Renee for her bravery and sacrifice--and to Debbie for being the special MOM and grandmother she is--and to that little boy whose smile I've come to know and love so well. When my time comes to cope with all of this, and I know it will, I hope I handle things as well as they do.

Thank you to all who serve. To all of those who have served. Your sacrifices to this country are truly appreciated. We KNOW that freedom isn't free.


Anthology Authors said...

My nephew served three stints over there. He was a medic. His first two were in Iraq. His last in Afghanistan. Right before he was sent over, my brother had a dream. My father, who died of cancer, came to him and said that Richie would be all right. It brought great comfort to my brother to know our father was watching out for him. Richie has since mustered out, but he came home safe and in one piece, for which we are truly grateful.

No freedom isn't free. There is a price for it. A very high price.

For all those who serve, and have served, God bless you.

Sarah Masters said...

I think Renee is fabulous. I also think Debbie is fabulous for looking after that little boy. What strikes me about Debbie and her family is the great love they have for one another and the support they share. This is testament to Debbie's fantastic mothering skills--she has brought her children up well, and I have no doubt her caring and wisdom has extended to her grandson.

I admire Renee in doing a job she believes in, knowing it will take her away from her son. It must be a terrible wrench every time, but she always returns, fighting for people like us. Without people like Renee, we'd be, quite frankly, a bit fucked.

I feel for you, Tess, with the dread of your boy joining up. I have been through this myself, but my son changed his mind. He may change it back again, who knows, but whatever those lads choose to do, it's something in their heart that prods them to do it. Those who serve are very special people indeed.


Tess MacKall said...

I can't imagine sitting at home and waiting word of a loved one. I have a friend whose husband has been deployed right much over the years and she is so patient. I am not sure I could ever do it.

Glad your nephew came home safely. Give him a big thanks for his service from all of us.

Tess MacKall said...

Yes, I have great admiration and respect for Debbie and Renee, for the entire family. A strong bunch--dedicated to each other for sure.

And yes, I worry about my little man. He's pretty strong-willed and I can tell that even now, I won't be able to change his mind. I never say anything against him joining up.

It is, after all, an honor to serve. I can't think of any more noble career path for him to follow. I'll simply pray for him. And continue to pray for all our troops in these dark times.

Sarah Masters said...

I don't want your boy to go, but his compassion...he'll serve well.


anny cook said...

My son did 8 years in the Navy. He was stationed at the submarine base in CT when 9/11 happened. During that chaos I remember wondering if he would have to ship out or go overseas.

You just deal with it, you know? And pray a lot.

Debbie Gould said...

Awww, jeeze, Tess. You went and made me cry. Thank you so much for your kind words. It means so very much to me.
All three of my children are wonderful and it takes all of us to support Renee. Her brothers love being one of the male role-models in Jadin's life when she's gone. And they help me out so much with him.
We all get through her deployments on day at a time.
Once again, Tess and Emmy, thank you. It's you guys I vent to and ya'll help me greatly.

Debbie Gould said...

And you all know how much I love sharing pictures, lol.

Sarah Masters said...

Here whenever you need us, love.


Tess MacKall said...

Just deal with it and pray a lot. I hear ya, Anny.

Tell your son we said thank you for his service to our country.

Tess MacKall said...

Oh Debbie, I know how close your family is--even when you're very far apart. You seem to have found a way to bridge the distance regardless of the miles.

Give Renee, and all those wonderful boys a hug from me.

Looking forward to more pics.


Tess MacKall said...

You've definitely listened to enough of my tirades, Deb. Glad to be here for you, hon.

C. Zampa said...

I honor Renee as well, and all her fellow service people. We take our freedom for granted and, just because they war is far away, we sometimes don't grasp what's really being done to protect our home.

Thanks to all of you in the service, and prayers for your safety.

And prayers for parents like Debbie who keep the homefront going.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tess! And everyone else! It is always great to hear others are supporting you and behind you! Thank you ladies:)...Renee

Tess MacKall said...

Oh Renee!!! It's so good to hear from you. You have such a proud Mama and we all just hang on her every word about you and that sweet little boy. We're particularly fond of his seatbelt entanglement. LOL

Thank you so much for your service. And please tell others how we feel. We do think of all of you. You're never forgotten.

Big hug...

Tess MacKall said...

You're right, CZ, we do take our freedom for granted. And I sometimes consider myself lucky that I see service men and women all the time and am constantly reminded of what is going on in the world around us.

I'm sure so many never give it a thought as they go about their daily lives. One day a year is not enough to remember. It's something we should be thankful for on a daily basis.

Faith said...

Somehow I missed this yesterday. Not sure how, but I just wanted to say that my dad's a Viet Nam vet. He served his country, but sadly he's now paying the price of it through a dif form of heart disease caused by the Agent Orange.

Tess MacKall said...

Awww...Faith, I'm so sorry. Give your dad our thanks for his service and we'll pray for his health.