Ten years ago I sat on a bed with my twelve year old girl beside me. We watched planes hit and towers fall and she was afraid. She cried and asked questions I couldn't answer. We prayed.
I did not know and she did not know that somewhere out there, only a few miles away, a little boy we did not know was watching, too. Sitting next to his mama - a woman afraid that probably felt a moment of stinging fear for the future. Little boys. They grow to be the men that desire to protect and serve - and she had the gift of a baby boy.
I did not know then that this sad and horrible day would take my little girl here.
Little girls, they grow to love those boys.
Last Thursday I spent my day somewhere I never want to go again. I never want anyone to have to go again.
I watched our 112th and 113th Military Police Battalions say goodbye to family and friends.
Some were leaving for the first time, others were seasoned, some of them going on fourth and fifth deployments.
There were wives with infants, babies who would speak their first words and take their first steps without their daddies. There were pregnant wives, carrying babies that will be born while their daddies are away.
There were children clinging.
There was one couple - both being deployed - they were leaving behind a one year old baby girl.
One mama sitting behind me couldn't stop crying. My heart felt like it would break. Comfort her, I prayed.
I kept watching my baby girl. I kept watching Tammy.
I watched them watch him and my heart did break.
How would I do this if I were them? How can I help them? I prayed.
My girl loves Ruben. Her dreams and plans and all of her tomorrows are wrapped up with this young man. All I wanted to do was turn back the clock and cradle her again, shielding her from all the pain and unfairness of this world.
I could imagine Tammy's mind filled with images of watching him grow. I knew her arms ached to cradle with a clock turned back years. Just a few more moments of just him and her.
Fear and pride.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."Joshua 1:9
Flags were held and waved in tribute and hope.
And isn't that the word? Hope.
And with hope there is faith.
Last night I listened to someone answer a question on how to control worry. She responded that you should imagine the worst thing that could happen in a situation and then know, and believe, that it would still be a good day anyway.
Not here. Not for this. In this faith and hope you picture the best that can happen. And you hang on to that. You let worry drift away with the dreams of the goodbye being in the past and that the touches of a loved one home is what your future holds - and only what it holds.
And you believe it. You believe tight and true and as brave as the one you love.
For they are brave and true and the heroes of this country.
But Tammy and Delia and all the loved ones left here to pray and miss . . .
they are heroes, too.
So I salute - all across this country - ones doing what I know can only be done with faith and hope.
Will you remember to remember those that ten years later are still afraid and still saying goodbye?
For more of this day, go here.
We ask humbly that you remember our Ruben. God bless and God speed. We love you and are so very, very proud.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.1 Corinthians 16:13