Memorial Day 2015: Honoring Three Heroes

By Laura Faison on May 19, 2015

Taylor's Dad while serving in the Army.

Taylor’s Dad while serving in the Army.

April 25th 2003.   My father had been serving in Saudia Arabia for the last few months.  It was at the very beginning of Operation Freedom so communication from the bases was limited.  We had heard rumors over the last few days that they might be coming home but each time we were disappointed.  Friday April 25th at about 9pm we received a phone call that we needed to head to Robins Air Force Base…they were coming home. We sat in a room with about 50 other families waiting anxiously until finally they gathered us up and took us out on the flight line.  They10173695_10101400099047307_7718258481926674445_n told us to be patient that it would take a minute for the soldiers to come off the plane.  I remember my heart was racing then finally…the doors opened and the second person off was my dad.  I broke out in a run as fast as I could with tears streaming down my face and gave my Dad a hug that I never wanted to end.  I was lucky, my Father came home, but I will never forget those who sacrificed everything for me and my family. – Taylor

Laura and her husband.

Laura and her husband.

Two days after our first date he left for a drill weekend.  Four months after our first date he left for Officer Candidate School for over two months.  We spent over seven months of our first year-and-a-half dating apart.  We were forced to change our original wedding date as it fell during a pre-deployment training.  Holidays were missed, celebrations were cut short, and he rushed home on 72 hour leave from Annual Training for the birth of our child, only to return to the field when our son was just two days old.  Despite these sacrifices, which seemed so monumental at the time, I amIMG_0506 incredibly humbled by and proud of my husband for his service to our country, and for the long line of service members I’m so honored to call family.  More so, I’m incredibly fortunate that each of these family members came home from every deployment, tour or training – something too often taken for granted throughout our day-to-day busy lives.  When you reflect on those things, the days apart don’t seem so long, the hugs are tighter, and the moments you spend together are that much sweeter. – Laura

Ellen’s dad, Art.

Yesterday, I sat next to a couple at my son’s college graduation. The husband had spent 30 years in the military and they had lived all over the world. They were humble people that had done amazing things – through the military and in their civilian lives with what they had learned from those experiences. As we sang the National Anthem, I realized the wife was crying and she whispered to me, “I’m sorry, I just have been to so many places where freedom doesn’t exist.”

My 91-year-old Dad is on a short list of World War II Veterans still living. He piloted a crew and his B-25 Mitchell bomber safely through dozens of missions during the war. I am in awe of him. Over the years, I have come to better understand that my Dad’s unfailing patriotism (we have always had a flag pole in front of our house), belief in the endless dad_formalopportunities we have in America (“you can do anything”), and the importance of appreciating our freedom come from first-hand experience – flying dangerously low over targets protecting all that he held dear at the tender age of 19. I can’t envision having the courage to do what my Dad and so many others did and do every day so that I enjoy my life, here in the United States. What I can do and try to do every day is continue to talk with him, which is a blessing unto itself, learn from him, and make sure my kids do the same. Thanks, Dad – Ellen


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