Today I remember where I was 14 years ago: Commanche Chapel on Ft. Hood. We were at PWOC early for worship practice. I remember seeing the TV screens and realizing my life would never be the same again. As soon as the second plane hit I knew that my Dad and my friend's Dads would probably be leaving soon. I didn't know just how long this would last.
Today, these kids don't remember what it was like to be in a time of peace. If you think about it, the oldest kids in high school (18) would have been 4 in 2001. Some of our 9th graders were probably born in 2001. As long as their dads have been in the army there have been frequent deployments, stressful years without him, and hard reintegration's. Tearful conversations about Dad and his PTSD are not uncommon. Some of their moms talk about the days before the war, and what her husband was like before the PTSD. The awe in which these kids listen to those stories reminds me that they didn't know that dad.
I grew up with the luxury of having my dad around. He was only deployed twice my entire life: Once when I was three, and once in high school. I remember how hard that deployment was for me at three. I slept with a picture of him every night because I missed him so much. It was such a rare thing then, and when we had him home we didn't have to say goodbye to him again for a long time.
For these kids, they're on deployment 5 or 6. Transitioning their dad in and out all the time is just a fact of life. I can't imagine not having my dad for that long. He was such a huge part of who I am today. Who would have helped me make my AWANA cars so awesome? Who would have come in showing the snake he just found outside so I could pet it? There are just some things you need a Dad for when you're growing up. These kids don't get him that often.
Let us not forget 9/11, the survivors, the lost. But let us not forget the Military Family.