I really have to get better at this social networking . . . posting here, there, and yonder . . . existing in a 21st-Century society. But all too often, the seconds, minutes, and hours of my day pass so quickly and before I know it, it’s another day gone and another one on the horizon.
However, I’ve been otherwise pre-occupied over the last few weeks, with my youngest, my son Ross, a U.S. Marine, being deployed to Afghanistan. Many hours and days have passed where I have been thinking about where he might be, what he might be doing, and is he safe, warm, getting enough to eat, getting enough rest, and is he, too, having his family back at home foremost in his thoughts. In our current over-technologically-advanced society, we, as families of U.S. Military members, find it hard to conceive that we can’t pick up a phone and call them, compose an email and send it over thousands of miles where they can read it within a matter of a few hours, or write a letter and have any assurance that they will read it before it becomes “old news.” Family and friends pack boxes of “goodies” to ship over which contain things we all have taken for granted all of our lives: Oreos, various kinds of candy, socks, crackers, playing cards, books and magazines, and photos of things we are doing back here on a daily basis. Being a photographer, I have gone around the house, around town, and out to lunches and dinners with friends and family and out comes the camera! I snap a few frames, download, print, and into a box they go for the next shipment to Ross. I have penned letters, both while he was in bootcamp on Parris Island, South Carolina, and since he’s been in Afghanistan, not only from the family (the human members) but also from the two dogs and cats we have. It’s amazing what they have to tell Ross on a weekly basis.
This deployment has been a tough period in my life — what I would consider to be a defining time in my life, where I have come to realize that I have raised two great children. When Ross was born, I never dreamed I would send him off to a war in his early 20’s. But when he came home from college one weekend and announced he had joined the Marines, at that moment, I thought my world was falling apart. Terrorism, war, political and economic issues in our country — these were all things I never thought my children would have to deal with. But here we are. So I began Ross’ military story as seen through my lens.
Parris Island, South Carolina
The Marines took him to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, and then on to Afghanistan. To all of you that have family members serving in the military who are deployed to various areas of the world, God Bless You All and prayers for a safe return. So many of our images would be the same on the day of deployment, but I’m sharing mine with you.
After my son left on a bus bound for several stops in the world on the way to his final destination of Afghanistan, I logged onto Facebook and found these posts on his page:
I am a PROUD mother of a United States Marine. And while it’s tough saying goodbye, it’s equally as tough to wait for those letters and maybe a phone call. To all military families out there, stay strong . . . and God Bless.