I cried at the last “Deployment Send-Off Ceremony.” I didn’t cry last night. Why? I was with family – hundreds of them.
In front of us sat a man who looked like “Kyle” from the TV show, “Last Man Standing.” He noticed we were trying to save seats on three rows of bleachers. He assured us his family had already arrived. (We had 25 in our group.)
Then he explained he retired from the National Guard but his brother was a commander of the unit. He pointed out his 5 siblings and their spouses. We were all “family” there.
A man sang, “Keep the Home Fires Burning.” I softly sang the chorus with him. (It’s a song from World War II, decades before I was born, but I watch black and white movies and knew the chorus.)
He sang the National Anthem. (I never know whether to listen or sing along.) I sang along softly. After the high note, everyone seemed to quietly join in.
I did tear up as I passed a soldier holding his 4-month-old baby. He will miss that first birthday. But I didn’t cry. He didn’t look sad. That baby was the reason he was going. He didn’t want his baby growing up in a war zone.
1 Chronicles 7:4, “With them, by their genealogies, after the house of their fathers, were thirty-six thousand troops of war, battle-ready, for they had many wives and sons.” Modern English Version
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