I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God. ~ Oath of Office, Commissioned Military Officers
Ben and I recently watched the PBS documentary, Carrier. The series includes ten one-hour episodes documenting the lives of those aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, a nuclear aircraft carrier, during a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in 2005. It had been recommended to us by a variety of people, military and civilian; we decided to indulge.
As we settled into the couch for the first episode, I was overcome by a sense of trepidation. Sure enough, it didn’t take long until the images on the screen were making my heart ache and my eyes welded up with tears. Not surprisingly, the first episode began with the crew boarding the ship in San Diego – saying goodbye to their loved ones and their life at home. For me, these goodbyes are some of the hardest moments in the life of a military wife. It’s horrible. Debilitating. Heart-wrenching. The antithesis of fun. I have not enjoyed the times I have had to say goodbye to Ben. And I know it’s never going to get any easier – we have plenty more “goodbyes” ahead of us. But I am so thankful for and proud of who he is and what he does. The documentary provided me with a better idea of the world Ben and I have entered; I’m still learning and adjusting.
On this eve of Veterans Day, I’ve watched countless planes fly overhead, arriving for tomorrow’s Blue Angel air show. I’ll be missing the festivities (for good reason – I’m off to see my brother, sister-in-law and nephew in the morning!), but in a way, today was pretty much one long air show. I’ve been so impressed by some of the people I’ve met who served our country for many years. Their lives are marked by incredible sacrifice, tremendous exertion and, undoubtedly, loss. But they don’t see it that way. They fulfilled the mission. They followed orders. They upheld their oath and protected this country and the freedom of its people. And I am truly, deeply thankful for them.