Monday, July 11, 2011

First REAL trip to a USO!

This is pretty sad, but in 18 years of being a military wife I've never been in a Airport USO. I am amazed at these women who run this place. I imagine these retired women are either veterans themselves or spouses of veterans; either way they truly have a heart for our military and our military families.

You see, I'm in Seattle en route to our huge vacation in Alaska. We have a 7 hour layover and there is no place I'd rather spend it than in this USO. It's been nonstop busy since we arrived, several groups have moved in and out of here already but many are here for the long haul. Some 7+ hours like us, others 24 hours til their next flight goes out. There is a constant turnover.

As I sit and observe I can't help but notice how old I am to many of these kids. I can legally say kids because I am officially old enough to be their moms' I think some of these boys were at prom just 3-4 months ago and now they are off to war. Don't get me started on the girls here. As K80 sits next to me I am reminded that in 8 years this could be her or 6 years one of my boys. One of the girls is reading the magazine "Seventeen" sitting in their cammies, 17 and in cammies. Wow! Another young man is writing a letter, I would like to think he's writing to his mom but by the emotions on his face I am certain it's his girlfriend back home. A few are playing video games, a couple more are sleeping and one is chatting it up with one of the volunteers.

Then there are the 'crusty' guys. The guys who've obviously been in 15+ years loving what they do, but their tired. They've probably deployed way too many times to count on one hand or maybe even two and they are off again. You can tell their tired by the looks on their weathered leathery faces. They stand tall when they have to but normally slouch because it's just easier. I am grateful for these men and women; they take care of the babies in the room, the guide them, mold them and shape them into warriors. They vow to bring them all home and we all know that promise cannot be kept. You can see that each of these men and women have lost someone or many, too many. Their hearts ache and they continue to wear them on their sleeves.

Each of the men, women, and children who cross the threshold of this USO are changing the course of America and our world. Their daily sacrifice to serve our great nation without limits, without hesitation, and sadly often without the support of their fellow Americans is breath taking. I truly cannot say thank you enough, your service has not gone unnoticed in my family's life. We hold your service with the deepest of gratitude, the utmost respect and unwavering devotion. THANK YOU!

Now go call your mom and tell her you love her one more time and that you'll be safe because my Gunny, my Sarge, my Top, my Lieutenant, and my God's got my back!

Do it now!! .... (it's your turn to say "Yes Ma'am" and pick up your cell phone and start dialing!)

1 comment:

Michelle Myers said...

Well said, Colleen. Just, well said.
Thank you to you, yours, and all the others out there-your service and sacrifice does NOT go unnoticed.