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By Jennifer Hartline

5/25/2015 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (

A safe and solemn Memorial Day to all. May God continue to bless the United States of America

Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland.  Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight.  I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you and your families.  Godspeed, and come home soon.

Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland.  Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight.  I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you and your families.  Godspeed, and come home soon.

Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland. Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight. I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you and your families. Godspeed, and come home soon.


By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (

5/25/2015 (6 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Veterans, memorial day, heroes, soldiers, war, courage, Jennifer Hartline

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - I understand that it can be difficult for civilian families to relate to military folks and the military lifestyle.  It's hard to really grasp the emotional highs and lows, and the toll that military life takes on a family unless you've lived it.  Through no fault of their own, many civilians just don't get it, and how could they?

Until I lived through my husband's weeks of field training exercises, I didn't understand what it was like to be a temporary single mom, with him popping in and out of home life like a frequent visitor and having to get used to him being around again.

Until I lived through his deployment to Iraq in 2003, I could have never comprehended the heartache of saying goodbye to him in our doorway at 0300, closing the door behind him, and thinking to myself, "That might have been the last time I'll ever see him.  That just might have been it." 

Do you know how hard it was not to fling open the door and run after him?  I had two small children sound asleep in their bedroom, and their Mom sat up on the couch crying til dawn, begging the angels to keep my beloved safe.  I didn't know what I was supposed to do next.  Turned out, it was make breakfast.

Normal stuff of normal life fills the days of loved ones waiting at home for their soldiers who are "in theater" - that means in the war zone, in harm's way, in danger.  Not at home with you.  Yet every moment there lingers a fear in your heart, and a small lump in your throat.
Every day the prayer is the same, "Please Father, keep him safe today and bring him back home to me."  Every day you smile in front of your children whether you feel like smiling or not.  Whether you're worried or lonely or tired, you do your best to keep things "normal" for your kids.  And you remember that whatever you're going through is peanuts compared to what your soldier is enduring.

So while there are many things I don't expect the civilian world to understand, I do expect them to REMEMBER the sacrifices made by our uniformed heroes, the ones who go to the worst places on earth and do the most difficult and unpleasant jobs in order to protect us back here at home. 

Most of them are like my husband, in that they don't want public applause or thanks and they don't really need medals.  They truly appreciate the person who shakes their hand, looks them in the eye, and says, "Thank you for your service.  I'm glad you're home safe and sound."

They truly appreciate the people who look after their families while they are away.  The guy who mows the lawn for a soldier's wife; the woman who helps out with childcare once in a while or brings dinner over; the person in the housing office who takes pity and makes sure a repair gets done pronto. 

And in my case, the guy in the Rear Detachment (the soldiers in the unit who stay behind to help coordinate things) who comes over to this panic-stricken wife's house to seek out and destroy the red wasp flying around in the kitchen.  Really.  I was *this close* to needing a tranquilizer.

My husband will spend this Memorial Day quietly remembering the soldier whose body he escorted home to his family in Georgia the year we were married -- the one who died in a freak accident during a typical field exercise.  He knew it could have just as easily been him.  So did I.
He'll remember the soldiers who died in Iraq under his command, as well as the ones who were permanently injured.  He'll remember the nearly two dozen friends he's lost; the ones who did not come home alive.  Perhaps he'll wonder again why he did come home alive.

I'll spend Memorial Day thinking of all of them, and thanking God for their sacrifice and praying for their eternal rest.  I'll thank God again, for the millionth time that my beloved came back to me safe and sound.  And I'll pray for every hero currently in theater and beg Heaven's angels to stand watch and keep them safe.

And I'll remember my friend, Karin, who became a widow at age 34 with two little girls, and I'll remember how many, many families have lost the one they loved.  I hope they know, this day, that their hero is not forgotten.

My husband will never toot his own horn or draw attention to the sacrifices he's made and the sadness and loss he's endured as a soldier for his country, but I will.  We need some of the Brave here at home, too, and I hope there are more than a few left.

Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland.  Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight.  I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you and your families.  Godspeed, and come home soon.

Thank you, my darling, for being who you are -- a quietly brave and faithful hero.  I love you so much, and I'm so proud to be your wife.

A safe and solemn Memorial Day to all.  May God continue to bless the United States of America.We need to honor those who honor our nation with their heroic sacrifice.


Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. 


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