“Dear John” by Nicholas Sparks is coming out on February 5th. It’s about a military soldier going off to war and corresponding with his Love back home. Normally whenever I see movies like this my heart breaks a little. I know the feeling all too well– in a way. A different kind of love. My dad was in the Army. Thankfully no war was raging on while he was enlisted, keeping him home for much of my childhood. He did go off for months at a time for various military reasons. Kentucky, Italy, Pakistan, just to name a few.
Every time I see home made movie clips or commercials showing the soldiers going off to war or returning home to their all too eager family awaiting his/her much anticipated arrival, I have to watch through tear soaked vision as a flood of emotions engulfs me. The yearning for these loved one’s is torturous and show’s what true sacrifice is.
Being one of the lucky ones, I never had to send my daddy away for years at a time. I never had to wait patiently as the clock ticked by, wondering if today was going to be the day I’d get the dreadful call or visit telling us, he was gone…forever.
This is what my daddy lived for, his family, his honor and his country. He is the most patriotic person I know. A man who shed’s few tears and hold his head up high in the face of adversity. A man who always has a plan, even if it’s a dense plan. A man afraid of nothing with a chest of steal and a heart of gold. A man you can always count on to have your back.
Why is it that I cry every time I see a girlfriend, wife, daughter, sister, mother, running carelessly to the open arms of her soldier? Why does my skin get the goose bumps whenever I see a newborn baby placed in the arms of a soldier returning home?
Because I know that for every breath he takes there is another man or woman out there taking their last. The ultimate sacrifice of a soldier is the one true nightmare of their loved one’s back home.
During every 4th of July celebration, there is one song that chokes me up and brings me to tears. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The U.S.A”. This song will always be a tribute to the many men and woman of the military. For me, it personally take me back to a fond childhood memory that I will never forget. My daddy standing beside me on the freshly cut green grass at the Redding Convention Center during the stifling heat of July in California, watching the grand finale firework display. The bright lights shining on his hand respectfully covering his 4th of July T-shirt covered heart and one single tear dripping down his cheek.
I LOVE YOU DADDY!