The first fight I was ever involved in was to protect my baby brother, Frank. I was probably in third grade and enjoying recess on the playground when I looked over to the area where my brother’s class was also playing. I saw a boy push by brother off of the handlebars and marched right over to dole out my wrath. I punched the boy in his nose and he instantly started bleeding. Needless to say, I was promptly sent home.
I don’t remember so well but am pretty sure I got into trouble with my parents and given the whole “fighting is not the answer” speech. However, I think they went easy on me because they knew I was simply protecting my little brother.
I haven’t always had his best interests in mind over the years. I was the typical big sister when it came to pulling pranks and being mean but the love I have for all three of my younger siblings has never waned. In fact, it has grown as I’ve watched them each become adults.
That little brother who I protected so long ago is now in the business of protecting his country as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force. My family tearfully gathered in Florida several weeks ago to say our goodbyes as he left for his first deployment to the Middle East.
After that weekend I have come to realize the degree of sacrifice that everyone makes when a soldier is deployed. Not only do men and women leave their spouses, children and all around general comfort of everyday life to serve on the frontlines but those who are left behind have to adjust to a new way of living as well.
For instance, my sister-in-law will essentially be a single parent to my young nephew for the rest of this year while my brother is away on duty. She’ll go from having another set of hands around the house to shouldering all responsibility until her husband returns. Not to mention the long periods without communication and worrying that she will endure during this long road
My mom, who has kissed every scrape and scratch, is now helpless as her baby boy travels to the other side of the world to fight for his country. She’s already announced that she will not be watching or reading news while her son is away.
These are the things that affect those who are left behind when a soldier is deployed to fight for his or her country. I’d love to hear from those of you in the Alpharetta and Milton area who have or have had a loved one deployed overseas. What are the biggest challenges that you’ve had to endure? How did you deal with said challenges? Feel free to send a picture of as well.
As we get caught up in day to day life we tend to forget that troops are still away from their families and loved ones fighting for our country. Whether you know someone serving in the Armed Forces or not here are a few ways you can show your support to those who are serving overseas:
Anysoldier.com - In 2003, Army Sergeant Brian Horn saw firsthand the number of soldiers who never received packages from home. He urged his parents to help out and the idea of Any Soldier was born. You can send packages to servicemen from any branch in the military and those in need will receive them. There are also helpful hints and tips on what you can and cannot send.
OneBoyUSU - You may have noticed 8-year-old local, Cody Jackson, around town dressed in a military uniform while collecting money to send packages to soldiers. He also goes to the Atlanta Airport twice a month to welcome troops back home. You can make a donation to his website and help him to continue his amazing work.
You can also visit http://www.uso.org/ for a look at the many programs and opportunities available to show your support.
If you have any more suggestions on how to help our soldiers feel free to share.
Also, check out the video that I made of my brother's last weekend with his family before leaving to begin his deployment: