My son is a Marine.
He was at Parris Island this summer. He was at the School of Infantry during the fall. He was (accidentally) shot there, by another Marine. Fortunately, my son was wearing his flak jacket. The shot knocked him over (he said he thought his Sergeant had shoved him over) and shattered some of the ceramics in the flak jacket, but did not injure him.
My son is in Lima Company. This Company has probably had more casualties than any other Marine unit in recent memory, at least in the Ohio area. However, he has not yet been deployed. It looked like he was going to be deployed in April, but those numbers were reduced, so those orders were rescinded.
In the past, we’ve seen news stories in which Marine (or other service) units have returned. It was always rather abstract. Yes, we cared, but not intimately. Today, Lima Company returned from their nearly one year deployment in Afghanistan. They’d spent the past couple of months being debriefed, and getting the sort of counseling that helps them re-integrate into . . . tamed . . . society.
Today they returned home to Rickenbacker. My son was called merely to do guard duty at the base for their return. Yet, I saw the media coverage of the return of the Marines from Afghanistan. As a parent, I can no longer see it as an abstraction. These Marines have sacrificed a lot. I am happy for their return, and I am overjoyed for their re-union with their families.