American Flag.

"Remember, yours, mine and hours"

You can read all about them.

You see them on television daily.

But what about those who love them?


I have forced myself to watch news reports of units being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I say "forced" because it always pains me. You know I hate goodbyes.

I run to the television when I hear about a returning soldier or unit. You couldn't stop me from smiling if you hit me with a baseball bat. I love happy endings.

Until last weekend though, I had never been up close, face to face with anyone who had served over there or whose loved one was presently deployed there.

I was about to speak to nearly one hundred family members of the New Jersey National Guard. Their loved ones just left a few days before.

What could I say that would make a difference?

"I could only imagine." No, I couldn't.

"I understand how you must feel." I couldn't possibly.

"This time will go by fast." Being away from someone you love never goes by fast.

So, I opened by saying "I believe in you!"

I do. I believe in the God Who created each of us and I know what we are all capable of. But someone needs to remind us.

At 1800 hours I was to have dinner with the families and staff of the Family Readiness Group. I love military time. It clearly reminds me of exactly how many hours I have lived or wasted each day. 1800 is 6:00 p.m. telling me 18 hours has passed. "What have you done with them?"

Having met most of the people at my table earlier in the day, I didn't need to go about the introductions. I got to listen.

Go stand in a crowd of people. Look around you. They look like ordinary, regular folks.

So do the military. If it weren't for the uniforms, you would just think they were teachers, plumbers, cooks, or insurance salesmen.

They are in fact, your neighbors, friends and perhaps your loved ones. The difference is, when they go to work they are protecting your life, your rights, your children and they are putting their lives on the line for it all.

But what about the families left behind. Wives, husbands, girl/boy friends, mothers and fathers are all back here counting the 2400 hours that pass by ever so slowly while we all go about our day living the life they are protecting.

I stood up to speak to them.

I am asking you to stand up and speak "for" them.

In New Jersey and every state in America, there are family gatherings unlike anything you have experienced. These families are separated from those they love. They meet, plan, organize and quietly raise funds to provide services, resources, support and activities for the children and spouses of deployed military.

Whether you agree with the war or not, it makes no difference. These are our families, your families, your neighbors or friends.

Find them. Reach out and offer your help, financially, spiritually, and personally.

As I spoke that Sunday morning at 0900 hours, I opened with my piece "When you come home" produced by ( )

I followed by singing "You Raise Me Up."

They were actually passing boxes of tissues throughout the room.

"I could only imagine." No, you couldn't.

"I understand how they must feel." You couldn't possibly.

Unless you are a family member or friend.

Like the "Friend I finally met," Jane Hackbarth. She has been one of my readers for many years. She introduced me to Marie Durling, the Family Programs Specialist who planned that conference.

It is 0930 as I write this. I have spent part of those nine and a half hours sleeping comfortably.

I know their loved ones and other military around the world made it possible.

Remember, yours, mine and hours . . .

Contact your local military units and ask how you can help the families.

~ Bob Perks ~

[ by: Bob Perks Copyright © 2008 ( -- {used with permission} ]

Email Friend     Back     Print Page

Inspirational Stories     SkyWriting.Net     All Rights Reserved.