Twenty years ago, on a crisp fall morning I was driving to the airport along the same route I’ve always gone, with the same morning sun setting the front range mountain aglow, and the same small talk that takes place between a parent and child before a trip. Did you remember this? What about that? Remember to call me when you arrive. I’ll pick you up next… But there was no pick-up date. And that made everything different. Strangely different.
As a parent we teach our children ethics, values, and responsibility not knowing quite how it will shape their lives. I imagined many things for my son’s life, but not this.
A few short weeks after 9-11 shook our world, at age 18, he stepped up to do his duty for his country. Standing at the gate that October morning we said good-bye and I hugged my son like I had never hugged him before. Then watched as he walked away with the weight of the world on his young shoulders.
The drive home, still after all these years, is a moment frozen in time. The mountain view blurred by my tears had lost its magical glow. My planner sat in the seat next to me with no reminder of a date to pick him up. Everything was different.
As Veteran’s Day approaches, I wish I could thank every man and woman who, with pride, anticipation, and fear, stood up to defend our freedom. And I wish I could thank all the parents throughout our history who have kissed their children good-bye not knowing…
And I wish I could thank everyone today, who is working diligently toward a world with no war. Someday, I hope we can look back to see that our past sacrifices build a sturdy foundation for peace and a world where our children will never leave home without a return flight.
Never stop believing!