Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Camouflage and Dogtags

Growing up, all kids dream they could have a super power. All kids likely grow up having a favorite super hero, too. As a girl, I did not do a lot of comic book reading or cartoon watching, but I did have a favorite super hero; Batman (Still is, thank you very much, Christian Bale) and I did have a super power I strongly wished I could possess; flying (still do wish this, and writing gives me a high I am sure resembles flight).

So, I am a Batman lovin, halfway to flight kind of girl. Some of you may have wished to be wall climbing Spidermen that could read minds, or super fast Flashes that had capabilities of invisibility, or maybe you were lantern carrying mind controllers.

But this is not a post about fictionalized super heroes and it's not about dreams of far fetched super powers; it's a post about real life heroes. It's a post about one real life hero, in particular. A couple days ago one of my oldest and dearest friends spent a Monday with her kiddos and husband for the last time for ten weeks. On that Monday she drove him to Piqua, kissed and hugged him for the last time for ten weeks, and watched him love on his babies one last time for ten weeks and then drove away, leaving him to head off to Basic Training. Some of you know this guy and some of you are lucky enough to call this guy family.

Caleb didn't grow up wishing he could be Superman or Batman or the Flash. Caleb didn't grow up wishing he could read minds or become invisible or control actions with a blink of an eye. No, not this guy; he wanted to be a soldier. He grew up wanting to wear camouflage, serve his country, and be away from his family to help keep our country free. Caleb always dreamed of doing this and on Monday he left his family to accomplish this dream.

The real heroes of the world don't wear logos on their chests or cover their faces with masks or carry around glowing lanterns; the real heroes of the world wear camouflage and dog tags, they leave their families by choice so we don't have to leave ours by force, the real heroes of the world are risking their lives so that we may maintain the comfort of ours.

There are other unsung heroes around us, too, though. They are the wives that raise the kids without seeing their husbands everyday, they are the moms putting babies to sleep at night and then going to bed alone, they are the working women who keep their phones on them in case he gets to call, they are strong people being stronger than they've ever been when answering questions about when daddy will be home.

Other unsung heroes? They are the little boys and girls who go to school and proudly declare to all who hear that their daddy, or mommy, is in the military; they are the little boys and girls who grow up memorizing a voice over a phone line and anxiously awaiting the sight of a face, they are the little boys and girls who love a parent hundreds of thousands of miles away because that soldier fighting for our country is their daddy or mommy.

I believe very strongly in heroes, but my definition has certainly reshaped itself over the years. I love my life and the freedoms I have and now, more than ever, I know I enjoy those freedoms at the cost of children missing parents, spouses sleeping in a one sided bed, and lives being risked.

So, next time I wish I could fly, I'll remember those blue eyed babies that are missing their daddy, I'll remember my amazing friend whose strength multiplied by 1000 in 24 hours, I will remember that I have the capability of wishing I could fly because there are men and women all over the country not coming home to warm beds and made from scratch dinners, there are men and women all over the country not talking to those they love the most everyday, there are men and women all over the country who have the greatest super power in existence. Bravery.

Thank you, more than I could ever say, for fighting for my freedoms.

-Stephi D.

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