This weekend I attended the deployment party for a good friend who is deploying to Afghanistan. It was a bittersweet but awesome night….
My friend served in Iraq during the very difficult days of that time. He carries a lot of memories from those days both good and bad. He is a serious person who has overcome some demons and is one of the best people I know.
He is married with a very young daughter. I was there the night he met his wife and we could all see where it was going to go. I love them all and would do anything for them.
As a friend it is hard and scary to see him go. I can’t imagine how his family feels about this deployment and their emotions knowing that in less than a month he is back in harms way.
His dad served in Vietnam and both father and son are proud of each other. His dad said in a brief, but emotional, speech that given the option he would take his son’s place on this deployment. I believe he meant that 150% in his heart.
Not having served I don’t know the feelings my friend is having. Until last night I didn’t really know the feelings of the family and friends of those who are deploying and how the feelings of pride and fear mix together. My experiences up until this point have been the brief times of the deployment ceremonies and send offs.
It won’t really change how I approach these Missions but it will give me a different set of eyes to look at them with.
Over the next year I will experience the days of silence with not knowing what is going with a good friend. Emails and Facebook posts will still be there but a cell phone call or weekend get together aren’t going to happen. I will check in with his wife to see if there is any help she needs. Until he comes home everyday in the back of my mind will be a spot hoping the worst doesn’t happen.
Ironically one of my cousins (an officer in the Navy) is deploying as well to the Middle East soon. His party is in Wisconsin next Saturday evening. I am not sure if I really want to go through this two weeks in a row.
On a personal level I am very proud of both my friend and cousin. They are brave men who volunteered to serve knowing this was a possibility. America is safer with people like them on the watch. Thank you gentlemen for your service…..