I wanted to share with you an email that I received from a friend of mine this week. Amanda is the wife of Greg Settle, a soldier and Captain that fought in Iraq with J in 2005 and who is currently serving in Afghanistan. Greg is also a friend of mine from college.
I can’t help but remember what I felt like being in her shoes just 3 short years ago. Luckily, I only had to make it through one deployment before J was out of the military. Amanda has been through several. I can only imagine the worry she must go through.
She sent out this email last week after SSG Melton was KIA:Dear friends and family,
As some of you all already know, we suffered the loss of another local soldier last week. This was the 14th KIA for the Brigade during this deployment. SSG Josh Melton had been a part of the Salem unit (D Co, 2-130, where Greg is the commander) for several years and served with Greg in Iraq in 2005. He was a good friend and soldier, husband and father to his wife and 1-year old daughter whom he left behind. SSG Melton was scheduled to return home in about one month. This one has really hit a little too close to home for all of us.
As a military wife, your job is to carry on with daily life and maintain the family and home while your husband is away. You try to keep a positive attitude and a smile on your face, while in the back of your mind you live in fear of coming home to the unfamiliar car parked in your driveway and a soldier in Class A’s standing on your doorstep. While we try not to think the worst, we know that it becomes a reality for some. I attended the visitation for Josh on Friday along with some other military wives, and as difficult as it was to face reality, it was amazing to see how the community came together in support of the family. The entire Clinton County was covered in flags and signs as far as you could see. A flag in every yard and on every flagpole and signs on homes and every business. It was the most amazing yet heart-wrenching experience. We had a few drinks with Josh’s father after the visitation was over. He told stories and talked about how proud he was of Josh. One thing he said that really stuck out in my mind was this: “The two things my son wanted in life was to serve his country and take care of his family, and he did both. I couldn’t be more proud”. One thing I have come to know and love about being a part of the military is the pride that you have for your soldier, and the support you have from your military family.
As we look forward to celebrating our country’s Independence Day, keep in mind what we are celebrating. Be proud of where you live. Pray for those who have fought for our freedom in the past and for those who continue to fight today. Without them, we wouldn’t have the privileges that we do today. For SSG Melton’s family, this day will have a whole new meaning. Remember, freedom isn’t free.
Have a safe 4th of July. I love you all!
***I have attached a picture of the ramp ceremony where they loaded the caskets of SSG Melton and the other 3 KIA’s onto the plane back to the USA last week. Very moving…
I could not be more proud to be married to a man that can say he has fought for our freedom. I thank God everyday that he made it home safely.
To all the men and women who have fought or are currently fighting so that we can be FREE…THANK YOU! And thank you to the families who are left back home. You are sacrificing so much for our freedom as well. You deserve praise!
Amanda could not have said it better: “Freedom isn’t free!”