This hidden, much overlooked heavy burden carried by the families of our proud military, who are fighting and surviving in far off lands slipped up on me. Funny, that it should. Most of all my remembered childhood was of being a military brat. Memories of things, like that shouldn't be forgotten.
The men who have had a sizable influence on my life, were or have been in the service at one time or another. Be they my peers or those of my family, friends and now my neighbors. But there is another side that's just a bit different and that is the burden carried by the women, the children and the families of these warriors. Alaska has more veterans than any other state per population much less a larger part of our population is active duty either Air Force or Army.
What brought all this to mind began with an earlier posting of a invited Cub Scout Troop, over for an exercise in my lodge. go to: Native American History
Then a phone call from a long time friend. Many of the young cub scouts military fathers were in the Infantry Brigade stationed here in Fairbanks now deployed in Iraq.
"The 172nd Stryker Brigade, the largest Alaska contingent in Iraq, has suffered 22 killed and 327 injured since its deployment in the summer of 2005, according to Army spokesman Maj. Kirk Gohlke. Three have been killed since July's extension order." This was according to the Anchorage Daily News Paper
One of the mothers of a young scout and I were talking, as we watched the kids build their drums, it was through this conversation with her, that I learned that her husband was in Iraq. As I watched the two (mother & child) interact it all came back with a rush. That almost forgotten, overlooked burden, carried with as much bravery that they can muster. The memory of such things had slipped my awareness until now. Right then it just snapped it back into focus. Although, only but briefly, just in passing, as did that day until that phone call from my friend.
That phone call was from a friend of mine who works with that same young military mother, who was there in my lodge that day. We didn't know that, until the young mother was describing the scout meeting at the lodge to my friend at where she works, and then it dawned on my friend that it was my lodge she was talking about. This mother expressed to my friend, the good experience, she had at the cub scout meeting. It all came back then that burden that is carried my all members of the families of our fine service men and women. It all came back into focus pushing away the fog of time and everyday living.
Today with modern technology, the family has more direct contact with their loved ones, by blogging. email, web pages etc. But what really happens when this service member is wounded or worse yet killed in action, not until official notification does the family learn the fate of the men or women in question. They learn quickly that someone was either hurt or killed long before official notification. This is mostly through our military community grapevine or with this advent of quick news, over the internet. Even the commercial news quickness of today with satellite transmissions provided to the local community are we aware of the injury or death of one in the Unit even before we know who it was. What a burden they carry, these families in knowing their love ones stands in harms way and all they can do is bravely carry on. We must always remember to support them in anyway possible by not forgetting they carry such a burden. Maybe by just not forgetting we can lighten this load a tiny little bit. I know I wont ever forget again not as long as these families need us.