"This land of liberty"
We live in the best country in the world. I have only been to Canada and Jamaica outside of the United States. I love the Jamaican people. The people in our church there have been a real inspiration in my life. While living there, my kids and I had many conversations about patriotism and several of them have said that living overseas helped them become more patriotic to the United States.
We moved back the the US in the month of June and October found me saying goodbye to my 18 year old daughter, Holly as she left for the Navy. Holly has always been independent and I'm not sure she ever told me the "reasons" she joined the armed services but I knew it was something I couldn't stop.
She visited each recruiting office in Enid, Oklahoma before she picked the Navy and she had very distinct reasons for choosing that branch. She served 4 years and was in the Navy during Desert Storm.
When Tim got out of high school, he told me he wanted to enlist in the armed service. I asked him to wait until he was older, please. He respected my advice and waited. Once we experienced 9-11 he was ready to go. By then he had been out of high school a few years. So he married Shelley in October and it wasn't long until he left for basic training in the Army. He, like his older sister, looked into each armed service before choosing the Army. His Grandpa Doane, my Dad was in the army during the Korean war. So I know it made my dad very proud for Tim to choose the army.
Tim served 7.5 years. He spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq. His family became one of the many family's "left behind".
Being in the service is not easy. It's not an easy job, it's not easy on the families. But I am so very grateful for the service men and women that sacrifice so much for my freedom.
There are stories to tell about my children being in the armed services - fighting in wars. But I'm not qualified to tell them. All I'm qualified to do is to be so very very proud of my two service children. And to be a Mom that loves them unconditionally.
Thank you Holly Larsen Smith.
I love you.
Thank you Timothy G. Larsen
I love you.