That's my husband in the Navy dress whites. He was an aviator who flew jets (A-7's and F-18's) on and off of aircraft carriers; so yes, he was indeed THE MAN.
|I can't explain the little mark under my guy's right eye. This is an Ice Age|
snapshot, from August 1983, and the quality isn't the best.
Little could I have imagined back then that the sweet little blond creature who made me a mommy for the first time would one day grow up to be a military man and an aviator, like his old man. A husband in the service was one thing; a baby boy was quite another.
But that little boy grew up. And his mommy got used to the idea that she wouldn't be able to keep him home forever in a bubble-wrap cocoon. And he just recently ended his own military career, as an officer in the US Army, after spending the past eight years on active duty. He was a pilot who flew those great big Chinook helicopters; and as such he was sent on deployment for a year in Iraq, and then with only a year in between stints, a year in Afghanistan.
But the two men in the photo above are far from the only members of my family who have served, are serving, or will one day serve in the armed forces. The extended Pearl family has represented every branch of the military, with the exception of the Marine Corps, and they have served honorably and well. My husband's dad started the tradition by serving as a Naval aviator back in the 50's, and it is utterly astounding how many of his kids and grandkids have followed in his footsteps. The Pearls are a family that lives and breathes the motto engraved over one of the doors of the Sacred Heart Basilica out at the University of Notre Dame: GOD, COUNTRY, NOTRE DAME. (Actually, make that GOD, FAMILY, COUNTRY, NOTRE DAME. There we go, that's it. That's our motto.)
Just among our own sons, we still have three in the Army: one on active duty, one in the Reserves, and our baby, who is currently an Army ROTC cadet--and whom we just dropped off at the airport this morning, so that he could spend 3 weeks doing a voluntary Army internship at Fort Bliss, followed by a 4-week required leadership course at Fort Knox. He still has a year of college left before he will be commissioned, and already he is a brave and loyal soldier.
God bless the US military, the greatest fighting force in the world. Where would we be without the courage of our men and women in uniform and the sacrifices they are willing to make on our behalf? Today, we remember all of these great patriots, but particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the defense of their country.
God bless America! (And my family...and Notre Dame...)