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God bless our troops

Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010, at 1:58 PM

I didn't hear the political candidates mention the military during their non-stop campaigns that flooded the airways.

And kept my phone ringing off the wall.

But while the rhetoric was going on, our men kept fighting in Afghanistan.

I certainly identify with those men, but especially with their families back at home, waiting.

They hope and pray that their husband, father, brother or sister will return sane and whole.

My husband enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. But mostly he served during the Vietnam War.

He didn't do hand to hand combat, but he was part of a flight crew that transferred fuel to the fighter planes and bombers that flew over Vietnam.

Without that fuel, they would not have been able to complete their missions.

I know what it's like to sit at home, waiting and praying for a husband's safe return.

Many times, my children stood on the runway sidelines and watched their daddy board a plane for an overseas destination, while I fought back the fears I had. I knew he would be flying war missions that put him in harms way.

There were too many Thanksgivings and Christmases that we spent alone, without him.

It was a lonely time and the responsibility of tending to my children rested on my shoulders.

One of my girlfriends told me last month at a military reunion that her husband spent eight Christmases in a row away from home while he was serving his country on temporary overseas duties.

She and I became close friends while our husbands were away.

We visited in each other's homes and our children grew up together.

Even today, we have a bond, like sisters, that has endured over the years.

She was born in Louisiana and was a great cook.

She would cook homemade gumbo and spaghetti that took all day to simmer.

And my children and I would benefit from her culinary skills.

We peeled and canned peaches and kept busy that way.

We went to church together, shopped together, and babysat for each other.

We lived in base housing just a stone throw from each other.

Another neighbor, Ruthie, and I became close friends also. She had five small children that kept her on her toes.

But her laughter would ring out over the simplest pleasure.

My husband and her husband Bob became buddies and were often overseas together, sometimes sharing the same barracks.

Bob, too, was a boom operator who transferred fuel to other aircraft.

Military families do form a closeness; a bond, as we support and encourage each other. We are often states away from our hometowns and family members, therefore we cling together.

Unless you have served in the military, it is difficult to identify with their way of life,.

There's uncertainty, not knowing when you might be transferred to another military base. There's the uprooting just as you've settled in and feel established. There are tears when you must be separated from your other military friends.

School children must change schools and be introduced to new curriculums and adjustments.

They find themselves trying to fit in with school mates that already have formed a circle of friends.

It is a situation they didn't ask for but must adjust to.

Oh, yes. Military families learn to cope.

Just as our soldiers in the trenches are learning to cope.

God bless our troops.

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From these hills
By Peggy Johnson
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