Celebrating the Heroes on the Home Front

Behind every service man and woman are the multitudes who love and support them.


Posted in , Oct 10, 2014

Edie Melson's son Jimmy, in uniform, surrounded by his home front heroes.

When we think about military service, our thoughts turn immediately to those serving–the ones fighting the battles. While the sacrifices of the men and women serving in the armed forces are of the highest order, I’d like to take a minute to celebrate those who support them. I refer to them as the heroes on the home front.

I know that standing behind every service man and woman is a multitude of people who love and support them. These are just a few:

Edie Melson's son Jimmy, in uniform, surrounded by his home front heroes!

Moms and Dads
These parents not only managed to raise a child to adulthood–no small feat–along the way they instilled the value of sacrifice, service and patriotism.

When faced with a difficult situation, my Marine Corps son has often been heard to say, “You may think I’m tough, but you ought to meet the woman who raised me.”

These are the men and women left behind when a soldier answers the call of duty. They’re a shining example of love and loyalty. They willingly take up the role of provider–and in some cases that of single-parent–so their partners can do the job they’ve been called to do.

I’ve watched our son’s wife support him, cheering him on with pride and love.

The brothers and sisters of our servicemen and women are often the forgotten ones. But these are the first to make certain our servicemen and women–and the sacrifices they make–are never forgotten.

Our other two sons were some of the first to celebrate their older brother’s decision to serve. They’re also the first to defend his choice. I’ve also heard them remind others that it’s through the sacrifice of men and women like their brother that we can live in freedom.

Extended Family
This group includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of different degrees. So often these extended family members step in to take the burden of those left behind. They are there to fill in with whatever needs may arise.

I think about the pride of our son’s grandparents, and the encouragement of his aunt and uncle. They’ve been active participants through all aspects of his service–from Marine Corps boot camp to the welcome home parties after deployment.

Even though these folks don’t share a blood tie, you couldn’t tell it by their actions. They send letters and packages, help the families left behind, and are often the first ones to arrive when someone needs help.

Their commitment to friendship frequently includes encouragement and a listening ear when the stress of military service weighs heavy. It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to examples of friends.

I watched our son’s high school friends make sure he was never without mail during his time in the Corps. I’ve been the recipient of friends who somehow knew when I was struggling and showed up with a shoulder to cry on.

Finally, I think about all those who answered the call to pray for Jimmy as he served. To me, that’s the ultimate gift no matter what role you play in the life of a service man or woman.

These are just a few of the heroes at home I know personally. If you know a military family, I’d love to encourage you to become their hero. If you have a story to share, I hope you leave it in the comments section below.

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