Love those kids serving our country

Do you think they’d let a 60-year-old join the military?
As an Air Force brat, I have always been pretty aware of the importance of America’s military and I remain a big fan of all branches. Still, when you are up to your neck in the general goings-on of life, it’s easy to lose touch. I have recently had my military consciousness raised.
My renewed awareness began when The Coast News started circulating on Camp Pendleton. As part of that, we now create a page dedicated specifically to news of our local Marines and I am involved in gathering it. This task came on the heels of the death of the niece of close friends, who had been serving in Afghanistan.
Like so many, this soldier wasn’t even on patrol. She was only there to teach, in an armored convoy that fell to roadside bombs.
Cranking my awareness up another notch, my church has become very involved with the Wounded Warriors Center on Pendleton. That is something to touch the hardest heart. Coming home with wounds, both physical and mental, is a war unto itself, and these Marines are in the thick of it.
But in truth, for me, it takes little more than a stroll through the local mall. Everywhere you look are those sweet, so-young faces with the buzz cuts, looking just a little lost and at loose ends, even as they train to be tough and mature.
I find myself moved with a fierce pride in them. I then fight the urge to invite them all home, so I can mother the heck out of them.
With them weighing on my mind, I then got word of the recent death of a 21-year-old in
a Pendleton parachute training exercise. I happen to know a lot of 21-year-olds just now, including my son. These Marines and sailors are all someone’s still-so-young children and I can barely stand it. I often rejoice that I live each day free of war, and I thank these kids for that.
The more I read of what our servicemen and women are doing and have done as they get out of Iraq and into Afghanistan, the prouder I become and the heavier my heart gets. I do believe the job they are trying to do in Afghanistan is important and worthy. I can’t speak to its eventual success, but then who can? Whatever the end result, it won’t be from a lack of effort and dedication on our childrens’/soldiers’ part, or those who command them.
Living close to Camp Pendleton gives us a special opportunity. I feel like we all need to look around and find some way to show our gratitude. I may end up at the mall trying to give some surprised kid a big hug and a bag of cookies.

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