Yesterday I found out a guy that I went to high school with died when his jet crashed in Afghanistan.
He left behind a wife and 6 month old twin girls.
I didn't know Tom very well. I only found out today that he had gotten married and had children.
Still. My heart breaks for his family.
For his little girls that won't have any memory of their dad. Someday when they're old enough, they'll hold photos of their proud dad holding them when they here infants. They'll never hear him whisper the words, "I love you," in their ears. They'll yearn to know the sound of his voice. When they lose their first tooth, they'll wonder if their dad would have made sure that the tooth fairy visited. When their sports team wins a tournament, they'll wonder if their dad would have given them a high-five. When they perform in a dance recital, they'll wonder if their dad would have been waiting after the show with a bouquet of flowers. Their dad won't be able to teach them how to ride bikes, or take them on a big roller coaster, or confront their high school boyfriends.
For his wife, for whom "until death do us part" unfairly came too soon. She must now find the strength to comfort and protect her children even though her whole world has just fallen apart. She has to play the role of Mother and Father. She'll never be able to look over at her husband and smile as their daughters walk down the aisle on their wedding days. She'll never again be hugged by the man who makes her feel safe. She'll never get to experience the joy of her husband coming home from this deployment -- she won't be able to run into his arms and be spun around and kissed.
The one thing that these kids will grow up to know was that their dad gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. And they'll find honor in that. And they'll be proud that their dad fought to protect our freedom for another generation.
But that won't bring Tom back. That won't bring this Dad back. That won't be this Husband back. This Son. Brother. Cousin. Friend.
Each and every time a service member is killed in action...this is the price we pay. Each one is a son or daughter. A friend. Most are a brother or sister. Too many are husbands or wives. Fathers or mothers. It's a price we don't hear enough in the news. It's a price that our politicians don't consider enough when they ask our troops to go to war. But yet, it's the price that we all have to bear.
Tom, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. RIP.