Young people like to find heroes to admire and emulate. Sometimes, they look for them in all the wrong places: among the professional athletes on their favorite sports teams, the plethora of fast-living Hollywood movie stars, or the ranks of their too-cool-for-school-type peers. But there are true heroes in our midst; they may never get accolades or awards for what they do, but they carry out their mission--protecting and defending our country and her citizens--on a daily basis, with incredible courage and selflessness. They do their jobs bravely, sacrificing all the worldly pleasures and leisure activities we take for granted, with few days off, far removed from their loved ones. These heroes are the deployed members of the U.S. Military.
When you say someone is in the service, nothing could be more true; our men and women in uniform--both at home and abroad--serve us, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
This is a picture of my oldest son, who will always be a hero to me. Within 3 months of getting engaged, he had to spend a year deployed to a far-off war zone, separated from his fiancee as she planned their wedding. He came home, got married 2 months later, and within 10 months was sent away again on another year-long deployment. Shortly after arriving at his overseas post, he received the happy news that his wife was expecting twins. He may or may not be there to watch those babies come into the world, but he will at least be able to spend 2 weeks with his little family, when he comes back to the states for his deployment leave, before he returns to his post to finish out the year.
Some people would be understandably gloomy having been dealt such a hand. But whenever we talk to and see this son on Skype, no matter how grainy the image is, his eye-crinkling smile beams out of the screen at us. He never grumbles or complains. He likes to talk about regular things, to ask how his brothers are doing and get caught up on their news. He is an inspiration to our family, and we couldn't be prouder of him.
So look closely at the photo above: that is what a real hero looks like.