I've often heard and read that the families of our military men and women serve too. That statement seems perfectly logical when you hear it, and I never really thought too much about it except to agree that our military families made sacrifices to allow their loved ones to serve our country.
The first time I actually experienced this was when my daughter's husband, a Marine, was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. She moved back in with her mother and I for a while during that time. I can tell you that every phone call at odd hours caused immediate heart racing. And every time we heard a car pulling into the driveway we were almost scared to look out the window for fear it would be an official vehicle. Now that my son is on his first long deployment, I'm experiencing those feelings again. Wondering when the phone will ring, and what news it will bring when it does.
Those months taught me something that I had not known before. The families that wait on deployed service men and women pay a high price as well. It can't be measured, nor fully understood without experiencing it firsthand. Once you have understood, the fact that this price is paid willingly and with pride is an amazing testament to the character and patriotism of our military families. I say this not about myself and my family, but for all of those members here on NavyDads who have given their son's to the service of our county. Thank you. Thank you all for being who and what you are.
When attending the commissioning of my son's submarine I had an encounter with his Captain that bears repeating. I introduced myself and shook his hand. Then I thanked him for his service, and expressed my admiration for the responsibility that he held. Submarine captains are literally responsible for the lives of the entire crew with every decision they make. I was surprised by his response. For the next few minutes he deflected my comments and went into lengthy detail about how it was him and his country that should be thanking me for raising a son who was willing and qualified to serve. He talked about how parents of the young men and women who serve in our military are the backbone our nation. In his words, we are what keep the country strong, and able to defend itself against its enemies. He went on to say that if not for people like me our country would be defenseless.
I was humbled. I did not feel like I had done anything special at all. Certainly nothing worthy of note or thanks from a decorated submarine commander. But, looking back I now see the truth in his words. And for every father of every sailor I want you to know the truth in those words as well. I am thankful that we still have people in our country like the members of this site. And I want to thank each and every one of you for being the kind of parent who raised his son or daughter to have enough appreciation and respect for our country to volunteer. If not for people like you, this country would fall.
Sadly, we are not in the majority in our nation. Even sadder, our ranks are dwindling in number. Many in our society don't place value on our military men and women, and yet our sons and daughters put their lives on the line to defend them as well. But, I don't want to go on a political rant here in this forum, so I'll get off that topic.
Let me close by saying thank you again to all the dads (and moms) out there who have given their sons and daughters to the service of our country. I recognize that YOUR child is putting their life on the line for MY benefit. And I recognize that YOU are serving too in your own silent way by loving them, supporting them, and waiting anxiously at home while they are deployed.