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Patriotic Article
Military
By Fred and Kathleen Mahardy

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An Open Letter To Military Families Throughout America
(July 13, 2007)

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Fred and Kathleen Mahardy
Fred and Kathleen Mahardy
Proud Parents of
Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC

 If you feel naked when you leave the house without a cell phone...you might just be a military family member.

If suddenly you find that it is reasonable when your son or daughter explains that they can't tell you where they are, what they are doing and when they are coming home...you might just be a military parent.

If your gaze strays up and down the street each morning, looking for any ominous black sedan...you might just be a military family member.

If you find that household members who used to pretend not to hear the phone or the doorbell, but now race to answer both...you might just be a military family member.

If your gaze strays up and down the street each night, looking for any ominous black sedan...you might just be a military family member. 

If you find that “sleeping patterns” become “waking patterns”...you might just be a military family member. 

If you chide yourself for being foolish while looking for ominous black sedans, yet know that you will still repeat the same ritual the next day...you might just be a military family member. 

If you're inexorably drawn to news reports, but repelled by them at the same time...you might just be a military family member. 

If you make it a point to wave and nod to complete strangers because their car is adorned with one or more blue “service stars”... you might just be a military family member. 

If your acknowledgement is accompanied by tears welling up in your eyes when you realize that the star is not blue, but gold... you just might be a military family member. 

If trips to the bank, the grocery store and sibling school events are now planned around ensuring that someone stays at home, “just in case”... you might just be a military family member. 

 

Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC on patrol in Iraq
Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC on patrol in Iraq
(Son of
Fred and Kathleen)

Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC on duty elsewhere
Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC on duty elsewhere
(Son of
Fred and Kathleen)

 If you find that the sound of your loved one's voice is just as satisfying as whatever it is they are trying to say over a broken, five minute, static-filled satellite phone connection at 2:30 AM... you might just be a military family member. 

If you no longer complain about oppressive summer weather because you know that our troops carry sixty plus pounds of equipment in 120 degree temperatures...you might just be a military family member. 

If you can pack a flat rate box so that every bit of available space is taken up with toiletries, energy bars, baby wipes, M&M's, cards from local elementary students, and dog-eared hot rod magazines - and can do it blindfolded...you might just be a military family member. 

If you know the dangers of smoking, but still squeeze a couple of packs of “smokes” into that box anyway...you might just be a military family member. 

If your family has “grown” with new members who are known only by their last names and whom you have not yet met face-to-face, and this all seems normal to you...you might just be a military family member.

If you find that one hand reaches for the family photo album while the other pushes it away...you might just be a military family member. 

If you feel pangs of guilt for having taken for granted the freedoms and liberties that you have enjoyed for so long... you might just be a military family member. 

If you are frustrated, angered or confused with elected officials who at times appear to favor political posturing over presenting a united front against the raw evil which your loved one confronts face-to-face every single day...you might just be a military family member. 

If you are puzzled by those who profess support for our troops while proclaiming what is best for them, yet without having spoken to ANY of them...you might just be a military family member. 

If, “Mom/Dad, I am just doing my job” strikes you as the understatement of the year...you might just be a military parent.

If suddenly you realize that it is your son or daughter who is now the teacher and role model...you might just be a military parent. 

it is not easy to describe the range of emotions involved with saying “farewell” to a loved one who is off to war.  Having done so, you strive to go about your daily routine with quiet dignity, in a manner which, if nothing else, at least honors the daily sacrifices your loved one is making. 

You resist the temptation to despair, if only because you realize that your loved one him/herself does not have that luxury, for fear of jeopardizing the physical safety of those around them as well as their own.

If you're experiencing the deployment of a loved one – especially for the first time - and are not sure where to turn for support or just an understanding ear, please feel free to email us.

While nothing can completely erase such unique cares and concerns, you do not have to struggle alone.  While each deployment for every family is different, there are still common bonds shared amongst military families, unlike any others, and we at least can draw strength from each other. 

 

Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC in his dress blues
Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC in his dress blues
(Son of
Fred and Kathleen)

We pray for peace in the world, and the safe return of all those in Military Service.  God bless our troops and may He keep them in His care.  And may He instill a sense of profound appreciation in the rest of us for all members in our Armed forces, past and present, as well as the freedoms that they ensure on our behalf.
Fred and Kathleen Mahardy
Proud Parents of Sgt. Joe Mahardy, USMC
Liverpool, NY
Copyright 2007

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