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On watch with our soldiers

By By Melissa Cason
Today is Veteran's Day – a day set aside to honor those who have bravely fought to preserve our freedoms. Some of these brave men and women get to come home while others will never return because their blood was shed to make our freedom possible.
When we think of a veteran we usually think of an old man with gray hair and lots of war stories. While this is the picture many of us have in our heads, it is not always an accurate one.
A veteran is a normal, everyday person who sacrificed time with his family and his children to go to another land – often far away – to make sure that our country keeps freedom within its borders.
My brother is a veteran, and he is still on active duty. He is only 31 years old, and he has a wife and two daughters, a mom and dad, and sister, and tons of other family members.
I remember when Robert went to war in 2005. I thought I was never going to see him again. I was certain he was going to die. I cried for weeks.
But, after a few months passed, I began to realize that he was okay, and I got used to Robert not calling and emailing. I started sending him cards for every holiday and weekly emails. While he never returned a letter and only one or two emails, I talked to his wife on daily basis, and I knew he was okay.
I am telling you all this because many us don't realize that it's not just the soldier who makes the sacrifice. The family makes a huge sacrifice, especially the wives and children.
I don't know how Robert's wife, Jennifer, coped with her husband gone for a year, and I can only imagine the difficulties they had privately when he came back home.
So this Veteran's Day, I want to say thanks to all the families who have sacrificed for our freedom past and present. I want to thank you for standing by your soldier when he or she came home, because dealing with war is not an easy task.
Finally, I want to thank the families whose soldiers aren't coming home. You and your family have lost someone you love because of his or her commitment to our freedom. That is a huge thing, and thank you for supporting your soldier during his or her life. Thanks for sending cards, letters and other goodies to them. I wish you did not have to lose your loved one, but I am a glad that he or she was willing to give up their life in order to keep our country free. And, for that we will always be indebted to you and to your soldier who will never return home.
My prayers are with all the soldiers who have served our country and for those who continue to serve. And, my prayers are with the families, because I know what it is like to watch and wait.