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Monday, January 17, 2011

20 years since Desert Storm hit

20 years ago this evening, I was at a military spouse meeting, supposedly ready to hear specifics about how the Army notified survivors that their military spouse had died or been captured, and discussions about survivors' benefits. As we sat in the meeting hall at Ft. Sill, OK, someone came in and said, "turn on CNN". Since most of us had small children that had said goodbye to their dads 3 months prior, we weren't a CNN-watching bunch at our homes, generally catching it being forced on us as we waited at the Army doctor's offices for our well-child checks or other sick kids' visits (those were our best chances to mingle, at the doctor's!) We turned it on in the meeting hall to see that Operation Desert Shield had ended, and Operation Desert Storm had begun. Number one daughter was just 5 months old - she wasn't quite 2 months old when her daddy drove away in the wee hours to meet the plane that would take him over to camp in a foxhole in the sands. Number one son was in the other room, playing with the older kids. The acting post commander stopped by the meeting hall - he knew what we were supposed to be talking about that evening, and offered his knowledge and wisdom to our gathered group, even though we knew through our protocol training not to ask him much. He took number one daughter from me and moved to the back of the meeting room, just holding her as she slept, looking at her face as news of the bombs flying half a world away filled the room. He was a career officer, had probably seen combat himself in the 60's, but the news of the day hit us all hard, and seeing a soldier get strength from a baby was something I will never forget. Someone finally had the heart or sense or both to turn off the tv. We agreed that the topic at hand could be tabled for the next monthly meeting, and we gathered our kids and made our ways home to our dark houses, fighting thoughts of what the day's activities might bring to our small lives as we did the regular bed time stories, night time baths, and listened to prayers for daddies that were "working" away from home.
At the Armed Forced Day Parade
in Lawton, Ok, 1991. Daddy's home!
I write about this one 20-year-ago night in the hopes that I will be writing about what transpired in June 2006 in the year 2026. I see the strong young people that dear husband returned to help grow just a few short months after that January night, and I am grateful every day that we are together, after the endless minutes and hours where I had to face the reality that my kids might not even get to know their great father.  In another 15 years, anything can happen - here's hoping we are all around to see it together.
The two of them together today. 
(And as a nod to my swiss cheese memory - if I wrote about the start of Operation Desert Storm before on this blog, accept my apologies - today's announcement of it being the 20th anniversary just brought it back to mind again. Hopefully, I tell the same story each time - catch me if I don't!)


Dee said...

Hi Teri,
Thank you for sharing what it was like to be a spouse of someone sent to a war zone . . . I'm thankful your family is intact!

Joyce said...

I have enjoyed your blog. I have ACC also.

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