This week was one of the hardest weeks ever in the life of a Blue Star Mother. We laid to rest a local Marine who lost his life in Afghanistan. Along with two of his fellow Marines, in the blink of an eye, he made the extreme sacrifice.
As we celebrate the 4th of July, it is time to remember and be thankful for those who serve our country and why they serve our country.
I met my husband 32 years ago. I knew absolutely nothing about the military; I had grown up on a dairy farm and I knew how to milk cows! I remember his words, like it was yesterday. “I am a Marine first. God, Country and Corps…in that order”. If you can’t deal with that then we shouldn’t get married. Even though I was shy and an introvert and had never lived away from family, I knew that it would be okay. I loved him enough to make that sacrifice for him.
When we receive word that our child is being deployed, we begin a preparation process. We trust that it will all be ok, every day. We are so proud of our children for making the decision to join the military and pray daily for their safe return to us.
This week I stood at Quantico National Cemetery and watched the courage and strength of a spouse who is now left behind to raise two small children all alone. I can’t imagine the pain that she must have felt. Daddy won’t be coming home to give mommy a break and take the children to the park. Daddy won’t be there for birthdays, Christmas and all of the other holidays. The first day of school, the list of “misses” is too long to even mention.
When your child (or spouse) is in the military, it is expected that they will miss holidays, birthdays and special events. I have been fortunate, my husband only missed one Christmas with our children and I was a complete basket case. I made it through five minutes of church on Christmas Eve and had to walk out. I couldn’t hold myself together. I missed him so much. I can’t imagine how SSgt Stewart’s wife felt when she received the word that her husband made the extreme sacrifice.
I will always remember watching her and feeling my heart just sink. Her life changed in a heartbeat. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and let her know that I was so sorry for her loss. I remember the children being handed their very own American flags by a Marine who went down on one knee, presenting both children with a flag in honor of their daddy. The only word that describes that feeling is sadness. I found myself just looking up at the sky with tears running down my face, saying a silent prayer that somehow the pain will not be too much for her to bear. And then, out of nowhere, in the heat of the day, a cool breeze started to blow. It allowed me to take a deep breath and actually feel the love that surrounded this family and know that this family was special. It would all be ok.
As we celebrate Independence Day, please remember all of our military who are currently serving and those who have served in the past. Their lives were forever changed through their time in the military and they have so many stories to share. Their service to our country changes our lives and protects us in ways that we are not aware.
I’d like to dedicate this blog to all of the members of the 1st Marine Division, 7th Marine Regiment, 29 Palms, California who are currently serving in Afghanistan and especially to the four Marines that lost their lives. Even though we didn’t know you, you will always hold special place in our heart.
If you would like to help support our local military, please visit our website @ www.bluestarmothersva4.org