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To My Kids This Holiday Season…

Way too often our service members are asked, “How can you leave your family?” This holiday season, when still so many of our dads, moms, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, sons, and daughters are deployed, we offer these thoughts to those who don’t understand why they serve:

***

So many people have asked me,
How can you bear to be apart?
Away from your family,
Your kids.
Doesn’t it tear up your heart?

They say it like I’ve never given
Two minutes,
Two hours,
Too many days, months, years thinking about it.
It almost seems as if it’s them, not me, who have not given it a thought.

If not me, then who will go,
Across the world to go fight?
If not me, then who will serve,
When the hurricanes come with strong might?

You ask, “How can I leave?
Be apart?
Go away?”
I ask, “How can I not?
Who will go in my place?”

I hope and pray my family will understand.
They know it is me, not them.
A duty, an honor, a calling.
Yes, it’s hard. Terrible to be apart.
But it is the thought I will return…

To a family
That will know
I go for them.
Far from them
For a country,
That I can’t bear to part with…

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