Letters to Afghanistan
The echoes of crying children and spouses reverberated throughout the huge airplane hangar.
This was the families’ final goodbye for their loved ones embarking on a journey with one mission: to keep all of us safe. During all of this, he hugged, cried, said his final goodbyes to her, and waved goodbye as she prepared to leave.
It was most difficult to see the little girl transform into a woman who at 35 years of age enlisted in the Army for the following reasons: She saw Christians being butchered, terrorist attacks at home, and wanted to keep all of us safe. The man mentioned above was me.
This article is not just about and for my daughter. It is for the millions of servicemen and -women who have served or are serving in our armed forces, and for all of their families in recognition of their sacrifices.
Only now, as a parent experiencing it first-hand as my daughter deploys to Afghanistan, do I truly feel what all parents must feel when their child leaves–the worry, the missing a part of you, and the entire family feeling a huge void–an emptiness.
So, I cope by praying and asking the Lord to protect her from harm’s way and do the following —
— Letters: I don’t send text messages or a lot of emails, but I do hand-write my letters, averaging one every other day, thus adding a personal touch to our communication.
— Photos/memorabilia: Along with a letter, send photos and prayer cards with written personal comments on the back.
— Care packages: Before departure, ask what they would like to have sent to them, and if possible, send it ahead of time to their destination. Check with the post office to verify what they will allow you to send.
— Friends/Routine: For myself, I keep busy following a routine, whether cutting wood, yard work, gardening or bicycle riding. I also have a group of friends who support me by listening, writing to my daughter, and by just being there.
While all of you are celebrating our nation’s Independence Day this July, there are millions of men and women who have or are serving in our armed forces, whose only mission is to preserve our freedoms and way of life. As my daughter said to me, “Please pray for all of our past and present servicemen and -women.”
Please take the time to say a special prayer for those heroes who will never come home and see their loved ones. They are with our Lord, praying for all of us (always serving).
In memory of my nephew, PFC Dustin Paul Napier, who was killed in action in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, on Jan. 8, 2012.
Daniel J. Paul is a retired school administrator. His articles focus on education, old-fashioned family values, relationships, and other topics. His website at meaningfuldifferences.net features archived articles plus has a place to leave feedback.