A friend of mine, a Naval Academy grad and Catholic homeschooling mom of five young children, is going to Iraq for a year.
"But can't they send someone else?" another friend said to me.
Yes, I'm sure they can. But we must not forget that duty, honor, country and making oaths, really matter. My friend has not forgotten. She serves her country because it is her duty and it is the honorable thing to do.
When someone is enlisted or commissioned into the armed forces they take an oath. Ours went something like this:
I, [name], do solemnly swear, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
I know my friend is scared and she wants nothing more than to finish her time in Iraq as quickly as possible and to get home safe and sound to her family. She doesn't want to go to war any more than any of us do. But she knows that she has made a promise to God and her country to serve faithfully.
She's a reservist, which means she is used to being home with her kids, except for that one weekend a month and two weeks a year that she wears a uniform and serves her country. She will be activated in a few months and will then be carrying out her duties 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for approximately one calendar year.
She will be going in harms' way to help protect our country and our way of life, but also, to help our global neighbors live a better life and experience freedom and justice in a way that they hadn't previously been able to experience. She goes to help prevent another terrorist attack like the one on September 11, 2001 that claimed nearly three thousand lives.
She risks her own freedom, happiness, and security, and that of her family, in order to carry out her duty. She risks leaving her youngest child, not yet 2 years old, that he might not recognize her when she returns.
Her husband and parents will be carrying on without her and trying to keep a normal routine while mom's away. They'll be homeschooling her kids and taking them to Mass and to family reunions and birthday parties and soccer games and piano recitals. And they'll be counting the days until Mom returns.
Please remember Eileen and her family in your prayers.