What the Fourth of July Means to a Military Mom

My Marine Son and his Military Mom!  December 2007
My Marine Son and his Military Mom! December 2007 | Source
I die a little with each hug good-bye, and yet...I treasure them as well.
I die a little with each hug good-bye, and yet...I treasure them as well. | Source

It used to be that the Fourth of July meant barbeques and fireworks, but not anymore! What the Fourth of July means to a military Mom is different. The day my son enlisted in the United States Marine Corps my way of looking at everything changed. He stepped into a room with 50 or more young men and women, raised his hand and took an oath to defend our country on June 25, 2007, then boarded a jet for San Diego. It took my breath away when I walked out the doors of the airport, walking out without him, it was hard to breathe. I felt the weight of the entire country upon my heart. Then, I looked up and saw a giant red, white and blue flag overhead, flying gently in the midday breeze. I saw beyond the brightly colored fabric waving proudly in the wind to the blood, fear and tears that built the strong nation of the United States of America. I was instantly overwhelmed with a flood of pride which washed over me and gently soothed my pained heart. My son was a part of all that provided and continues to protect our freedom.

Every time we watch fireworks, hear our national anthem or see an American flag, Military Moms feel a mix of pain and pride blossoming within. We know the cost of the freedom it represents to those who serve: the freedom to see, touch and talk to the ones they love, the freedom to eat, sleep and play what they choose, the freedom to make a choice or change their mind. Those freedoms are gone. Freely given by our child who sacrificed them when they choose to become a service member to their country. It hurts to know our child, for whom we spent years planning and preparing for them to have a comfortable and fun future, may suffer, even die, in the days or months ahead. To know that our child willingly chose to put aside the "fun and comfortable" phase of their life known as young adulthood to serve their country fills us with unending pride. Don't let me fool you - my son is having fun - but he has earned it!

The tears that are shed every day for a son or daughter who has left someone they love behind at home could fill an ocean. The parked car, the empty bedroom becomes a connecting point, a place to feel their presence and remind yourself that they will come home soon. It is generally filled with momentos from their youth that a Military Mom will cling to at some time or another. As time goes on, it becomes filled with momentos from their travels with our armed services. These build pride in the parent's heart that their son or daughter has had the opportunity to experience the many varied cultures and even the awesome training opportunities provided by Armed Forces. My son's room has shells from a beach on Cuba, a boomerang from Australia, and a fan from Japan amongst many other bits of memorabilia. It helps comfort a parent to know that there are positive things happening in their child's life. The photos of his sliding down a cable from a hovering helicopter propped next to his high school graduation pic seems more like a wild amusement park ride than a practiced military action. The fear and angst that comes from having a child in a potentially dangerous environment (or confirmed war zone) NEVER goes away, but connecting with positive points of time in their lives helps to buffer the emotions.

My son's serving in the United States Marine Corps has forever changed what the fourth of July means to a Military Mom in our house. It means taking pride in what my son has fought for, protected, and sacrificed for every day of his service. It means being proud to be an American. Thankful for our hard won freedom. Grateful for the opportunities afforded to each and every one of us who live in the borders of this great nation.

I am proud of what my son has become, a strong confident man. I draw comfort in knowing he can forever take care of himself in any situation. I have found peace in knowing that wherever he is and whatever he does, he will always be my son. Always! I draw strength from the time of learning to trust that God's arms are not short and He kept my son safe.

This year, you will find me once again contemplating what the fourth of July means to a military mom. This year may be our last one with him serving on the other side of the world. He will not experience fireworks like we will - his may be that of the launching of rockets or jets. He may have a dinner of barbeque or hamburgers out on the flight deck, but he will not be surrounded with home and backyard fun. He will however be surrounded by men and women who will give their lives to protect him - his brothers and sisters at arms. He does have family. I will forever be thankful to them for filling in for me in my absence.

What does the fourth of July mean to you?

Photos and Text Copyright 2011 Deborah M. Carey

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Comments 18 comments

varonny profile image

varonny 5 years ago from TORONTO

Thank you for sharing with us your view of the fourth of july. I think a lot of people take it for granted, or at least don't often see that side.

I'm from Canada so fourth of july is not really different from the other days, however, I did come to Canada on the fourth of July quite a few years ago, so to me it actually means family as well, just in a different way. I came with my dad while my mom as sisters stayed back home. It means family because that day was the first of many away from majority of my family, but also because it was the first of many in a new country (although being my birth-country), and the first of a new life with new opportunities as well...certaintly not close to 'your fourth of July'

Great sharing.. thank you


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

varonny,

Thanks - I hope it helps others to think about it! I know it is hard being away from family no matter where or why. It makes us appreciate them more even! Thank you for sharing...God bless!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

You've written a beautiful piece here on the joys and pain of having a child enlist in the military. My Dad was a career military man and we grew up on Navy bases and in Navy towns.

May God bless your son (and you) and forever keep him safe.

Semper fidelis


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

PegCole17,

Thank you and please thank your father for his service and your family for your support! God has blessed us with gentle deployments (Japan, Cuba, etc)and we look forward to Dustin's return again soon!

What a unique life you must have had!! Sounds like some hubs to me!! God Bless!

Semper Fidelis


ED Kassner 5 years ago

Semperfi Mom" I was NAVY but worked ocasionaly with our ships seagoing MARINES. They are a fun group to work with.They play hard but can and will fight even harder.There teamwork and training also gives them a safety blanket the enemy never will have. Stay proud your son is in excelent company GOD BLESS BOTH OF YOU AND YOUR FAMLEY.ED


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

Ed,

Thank you for your reassurance of my son's safety! It is always just on the edge of our mind every minute of every day while they are deployed! Thank you for your service too! Some of my sons greatest friends are Navy boys!! God Bless! Semper Fi!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

prektjr.dc, I had never considered the 4th from such a vantage point before. The holiday is so meaningful when one actually has a stake in what our country is doing. I wish you and your son all the best! You have much to be proud of indeed.


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

Simone,

It does look different from this side! Thank you for your encouragement! Counting down the weeks to his return!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I have always enjoyed the 4th of July, but now, after reading your fine hub, it means so much more. It must be so exciting for you, knowing he is returning to you soon.

Blessings.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

I feel the same as you. Our son is in the air force and is assigned miles away in an embassy. I worry about him every single day, but I am happy he has chosen to defend our freedom. Thank you for sharing your experience.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Congratulations on another hubnugget nomination. Thanks for sharing more of your family's story. I wonder if the draft will come back in Canada and the US?


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

vocal coach,

I AM excited to see him soon, time can drag when he is away! His sweet little bride has kept us feeling close to him with her visits! Thank you for your comments! God bless!


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

elayne001,

Thank you for reading and for the sweet comments! Thank your son for his service! I agree...they are always on our hearts and minds! May God bring him home safe and soon! God Bless!


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

Flora,

Thanks for reading! I am so excited for the hubnugget nomination!! Gotta get over and vote! In the U.S., boys register for the draft, just in case, I guess. I hope they never bring it back though. Knowing that my son volunteered to serve makes the coping manageable. Good question though!

God Bless!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

whhheee so glad that your hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets. Reading your account changed my view about the fourth of July too. This way to read and vote for the Hubnuggets: http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub...


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

ripplemaker,

Thank you for your encouragement! I had hoped to help others get a new point of view! I appreciate your plug for the hubnugget nomination voting! God bless!


crochet48 5 years ago

I, too, am a military mom. My oldest is stateside again after serving in Iraq as that war was winding down (his unit was the second-to-last to leave just before the deadline). He, your son and every other son and daughter in the Armed Services voluntarily, bravely and cheerfully give their service, time, knowledge and, sometimes, their lives to us here so we might draw free breaths.

Thank you for your hub and thank you to your son and mine for their service. Congratulations on your Hubnugget nomination.


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

crochet48,

I am so glad that your son is stateside again! Thank him for his service! Also, thanks for the compliments! God bless!!

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