It's hard to believe that it's been 8 years since we went into Iraq. I remember that day quite vividly. Kevin was still on the trail as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Knox but we knew that our lives would be affected in many ways. He already had battle buddies who were pulled off the trail, headed back to specialized units and who were probably already in Iraq on March 19th. I know that Kevin was out in the field with his current cycle of trainees. I remember wondering how many of those boys would be headed overseas as soon as their training was done.
I was sitting in our computer/tv room watching the news wondering what life would be like for the Iraqi children who were going to bed with relative peace in their lives and what they would be thinking when they woke up to war. I remember I was part of a Mom's group and the things they were saying were AWFUL, it made me leave the group, the hatred they had. I was a mother, my children were 7, 5 and 2. I wandered into their rooms and watched them sleep, my heart broken that when they woke up, they too would know a life of war.
Even though we had Troops in Afghanistan since 2001, this war was different at the time. I knew it was going to affect us differently. As I stayed up through the night and watched the news I remember the overwhelming feeling of sadness that rang through my body. The next day I found out that the Marine husband of one of my friend's had been wounded during the invasion. Not even 24 hours in and it was already a horrible reality for so many of my friends.
As time went on, the reality slapped us in the face time and time again. I'll never forget the first time Kevin saw the name of one of his trainees on the casualty list. The following summer one of our neighbors was killed at a checkpoint in Iraq. As we prepared to leave the trail and go back to a unit we were undecided about what we needed to do. We prayed and fasted and the answer was that Kevin needed to deploy. Ironically enough he had orders to Korea. Many people encouraged us to apply for command-sponsorship and go to Korea, avoid the war. In our hearts we knew that we couldn't do that. So we asked his branch to change his orders and off we went to Fort Hood.
Kevin deployed to Iraq twice. There is no need for me to go into the details of those tours. I attended more memorial services than I care to remember. I shed many tears, I held my boys countless times wondering what our life would be like. Those were challenging times. Even when Kevin wasn't overseas we had friends over there. It was a never-ending cycle of worry. That worry has not ended. They can call it something new but as long as our Service members are serving overseas, I will carry worry in my heart.
Eight years doesn't seem like a long time in normal circumstances but I can tell you it has felt like eternity. It has been hard but it has been rewarding, I am stronger than I have ever given myself credit for. My children are resilient and amazing. My marriage is a level most people never get to experience. All of that I attribute to the past 8 years.
And what better way to mark the anniversary? By bombing Libya...I wonder what the future has in store for us...