Mother’s Day in the Military

This photo of my mother, sister and I was taken in Prince William Forest Park near our short-term home in Northern Virginia in the early 1970s. It was taken as a gift to my father, who was in the middle of a 13-month deployment to the Western Pacific, serving his nation as a career Marine Corps officer. Mailed photos were about as good it as got for military husbands and wives back then, before the internet and before easy and affordable long-distance phone service. (The military’s AUTOVON phone service left a lot to be desired back in the ’60s and ’70s, and I can remember a fair number of nearly incomprehensible conversations with my dad during those days, as the time lag and poor connections tended to leave both parties talking atop each other). This particular deployment wasn’t the only time that my mom served as sole caregiver for long periods of time, as my dad’s career kept him in Vietnam, Okinawa, Beirut, Oman and numerous other exotic destinations for long periods of time over the years. So I ask you to reflect, for a moment, on how many moms are celebrating Mothers Day with their little ones today, as their fathers are busy serving abroad, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, on bases and ships around the world. And reflect, too, on the moms who are marking Mothers Day on those ships and bases themselves, without their children at their sides. My sister and I were so very fortunate to be blessed with a strong, principled mother, who was able to raise us on her own for long periods of time, while my father provided for us all, an officer of the warrior caste. So I salute all the moms of the world today, but extend special fondness and appreciation to those who have raised their children in military households, like the one I was raised in, and the one that my wife and I brought our own daughter into. We never had to endure long separations, thankfully, but I can tell you that moving coast-to-coast on military orders with a three-month old infant is no picnic. So happy Mother’s Day, Mom, and happy Mother’s Day, Marcia. I love you both dearly, and you did a great job raising your little ones.

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