Watching the news this weekend of the troops leaving Iraq brought on a myriad of emotions; happiness, relief, skepticism, pride, just to name a few. Happiness for the families that will be reunited. Relief that these remaining Soldiers are safely out of the country. Skepticism as to what this "end" will mean for the future. Pride in our amazing Soldiers for a job well done. As we watched the news this morning, I couldn't help but wonder what my husband, who just two weeks ago was still in Iraq, was thinking and what he was feeling. But he said nothing. It's been a long road which has cost us a lot to get to the end, and I pray that's what it remains - the end of the war in Iraq.
I know that the future is still uncertain and that there are a lot of mixed feelings on the "end" of the war in Iraq, but with this news one wonderful thing is for certain - there will be some incredible homecomings in the next few weeks and more families will be blessed to have their Soldier back home for the holidays. Without a doubt, that is something to smile about! After our incredible homecoming two weeks ago, it brings tears to my eyes to think of the many families that will be joyfully welcoming their loves ones back home. What a wonderful gift for the holidays!
But at the same time, I am reminded of the families whose homecomings were filled with sadness and pain. Those whose loved ones paid the ultimate price in this war. This war came at a great cost, and their sacrifices are not to be forgotten. I am also reminded of the many families who Soldiers remain overseas, still fighting for our freedom. The Soldiers who are still in harm's way in Afghanistan, spending this holiday season away from their loved ones, as well as in so many other locations around the world. Or the families who will spend this Christmas together, knowing that their Soldier will soon be leaving for a deployment in the coming months. The moments together are so precious, but are also dampened with the knowledge of what is soon to come.
I am so thankful that the last of the Soldiers in Iraq have crossed that border to safety. It's been a long, hard road and there are still so many uncertainties. But one thing is certain, no matter what your thoughts on the war are or what your political stance may be, our troops deserve our gratitude for a job well done. And for the troops who remain in the battle or may just be getting ready to go, our continued thoughts, prayers and thanks are with them always. Thank you for the sacrifice of being away from your families this holiday season so that we can safely be with ours.