Saturday, October 16, 2010
Staying up all night is much harder now than when I was in college. So when I did so last night in order to witness four groups of soldiers returning to the United States, it took a toll on me. My sacrifice, however, pales before what each one of them gave in the past year. Some of their comrades did not return. Those who survived, served in difficult environments. They lost a year of memories with their spouses, children, and parents. They gained a sense of how living in our nation compares with living in another. They learned what it means to help someone else when the other may not always want or appreciate the help. Many also experienced the joy of watching a light come on in another's eyes when that person receives an unexpected gift. My loss of sleep was a small price to pay in order to honor men and women who put their lives on the line to help others gain a chance for a better life. I had also the opportunity to meet veterans who came to welcome new members of their fraternity, their band of brothers. Families waiting for reunion gave the morning even more sparkle. My wife's presence at my side give me energy to keep on through the night. Watching her connect with military families, taking pictures of newly reunited couples, and holding small children to give a mother a break inspired me. What a night!