I recently had the honor and privilege of visiting the United States Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, NC. My husband had been stationed there several years ago. He had many wonderful memories, but the last time he was there and the circumstances leading up to his departure had been heartbreaking and honestly devastating. The last time he was there, he went from preparing for his next deployment to being diagnosed with lymphoma cancer…
As we head into the holiday weekend, please remember all those men and women that are deployed overseas. They are away from their family and friends and won’t be able to enjoy all the fun and food that might be planned. We recently received a very touching letter, and this seems like the perfect time to share it….
Hello Military Missions!
My name is Jeremiah and I am currently stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan. It is currently in the mid 100’s here in Afghanistan and unfortunately, the winds do not cool us down here, as they seem to actually make us more miserable and tend to make you walk around with irritated sandy red eyes.
My husband doesn’t really enjoy accolades and he’ll tell you that he doesn’t handle compliments very well, to which I respond, “Get over it, because in this family you’re going to get both!” 🙂 This week my husband joined a group of 14 other combat veterans to participate in the Save a Warrior Project hosted here in Kentucky! For those of you who have not heard of this program, in a nutshell it is basically an awesome, tried & proven PTSD Detox program…
STRENGTH – as defined by Merriam Webster: “the quality or state of being physically strong; the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force; the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined or effective way.”
Strength is the foundational word that comes to mind whenever I think about our armed forces personnel and their families/loved ones. It takes not only physical strength to be a part of America’s military fighting force, but it takes mental toughness as well. Those same attributes are displayed by the families and loved ones of our military. Every battle/situation a person faces is first determined (won or lost) in their mind. Where your mind goes, the rest of you follows is a true statement. If you believe you can or if you believe you can’t, you’re right! So to complete bootcamp, fight in a war, adjust to life after leaving active military service, all take a mental toughness and fortitude to successfully accomplish.
I see amazing strength in the faces of those elderly veterans at the VA Hospital who are battling not only sickness, but their own time worn and weakened bodies. Yet they still manage to return a smile and even provide a word of encouragement as they leave from their Chemotherapy treatment. Equally as strong are those veteran’s spouses and family members who are always faithfully by their side. Whether pushing them in their wheel chair around to their various appointments, asking questions, navigating the workings of the VA or sitting quietly by their bedside as they sleep, those spouses and family members exude a quiet, unassuming strength.
Spouses, whether of an active or retired military member, are some of the strongest people you will ever meet. Spouses hold down the home front when their solider/warrior is away, making sure life back home goes on and all is taken care of. Spouses provide support and encouragement for their solider and are the anchor back home that gives them hope and security while doing his/her job of defending our country and the liberties and way of life we enjoy. Spouses fight back tears during those phone calls and Skype times to make sure their solider doesn’t worry about them, but instead is reassured and encouraged and made to feel loved. Then cries when no one is around.
Strength is seen in the parent who sends their son or daughter off to bootcamp and/or war. Though worried out of their mind for the safety of their child, that they love more than anything on this planet, they tell them how proud they are, encourage them, pray for them and send them care packages. They do whatever needs to be done to support them.
Strength is seen in the solider/warrior that returns from combat, scarred physical and/or mentally from the horror and trauma they witnessed and endured. They are lions living among lambs…. the training and way of life they learned in combat that kept them alive makes them feel like an outsider and an alien when they come back to civilian life. Day in and day out they try to fit in and conform and readjust to the world they return to. Although many times uncomfortable, fighting hopelessness and feeling like an outcast they still keep trying and fighting to survive.
I want to close out the topic of strength with this…. It is NOT weak to ask for help. True strength is knowing when you need help and then asking for it. No matter where you may see yourself in the examples I’ve written about above, find a support system for yourself. Reach out to a friend, family or someone you trust. Go online and find one of the many resources and organizations setup to provide support. Contact the VA, tell them what you need and take advantage of the programs they offer. Help is available. Don’t suffer needlessly. You’re there for others, when the time comes let someone be there for you.
We would like to invite everyone to this weeks Hearts for Heroes meeting on Nov 13th. Please read the following from Kylene, the meeting leader…
I am sending the Hearts for Heroes email reminder for the last time. Our November meeting will be the final ‘official’ gathering. Nothing is wrong or happened, it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. So many want and hope to come to the meetings but life, kids, jobs, other commitments, etc. just aren’t making it possible to do it all! The decision is simply that the world and our lives have changed in such a way that it’s just time to move on. And I want this to be clear, moving on is healthy when there’s no longer that need in your life.
This group has been a true blessing to me from the beginning and I will forever be grateful for it. Friendships of past and/or present have been unbelievable and in many ways, still continue to be for many of us. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives, the challenging times and the blessings and all the moments in between.
If you have attended these meetings before, you know how much the support and fellowship means. It can get through a tough time when your loved one is deployed. Many lives have been touched over the past several years… but change is sometimes necessary in this world. Hope you can stop by!
If you need more info about the meeting time and location, please visit our webpage https://military-missions.org/support/h4h/
What things come to mind when you think about the upcoming holiday season? Spending time with family and friends… enjoying the home cooked meals… or maybe just drinking a cup of hot chocolate beside the fireplace.
Now think for a moment about the men and women that are deployed during the holidays. Instead of home cooked meals, they will be eating MREs… instead of looking forward to a 3 day holiday weekend, they will be working hard every day to protect us and our freedoms… but most of all, they won’t get to enjoy spending time with their loved ones.
Care packages can bring a little touch of home to our deployed troops. However, many that are deployed have no one sending packages or even letters. Our goal for Operation SEND Christmas is to send more care packages than ever before! The news likes to ignore the fact that thousands are still deployed, but we KNOW the truth! We still have hundreds of names on our list that have requested care packages… and we want to send a package to each and every one of them!
Through our Adopt A Hero program, you have the opportunity to send a touch of home to a deployed hero. You can choose to shop for their items yourself, or simply donate and we will handle it all for you. YOU can make a difference in the life of an American hero!
To learn more visit our Adopt a Hero page.