I received an email today from a friend. It contained a film strip of "100 Greatest Military Photographs" and some sad news. In one of the photos a soldier lies asleep on a cot in a hot and cluttered tent. The exhausted warrior clutches a bedraggled teddy bear in one arm while battle gear stacked and ready for a call to arms sits nearby. Light streams in through a window opening in the tent wall creating a halo around the reclining form and the sleeping bag that acts as a cushion to give comfort and ease to the moments of stolen rest.
This is somene's child, sibling and friend, someone who means something to a person waiting at home for their return.
Each week I see video of soldiers going off to war or returning to the arms of loved ones. My heart swells and tears fall when I see a crying boy held tight against his mother's breast or a little girl clutching a brace of balloons in one hand and her father's neck encircled by her free arm.
Lovers reunited give me joy and tearful parents so proud of their child and happy for their safe return give me peace. The faces of each person in the welcoming throng light up one by one as one uniformed figure after another steps off the transport to place their feet on the ground they gave up so much to protect.
The picture of the sleeping soldier looks out at me from my computer as I put pen to paper and pray she was fortunate and her loved ones luck, that she returned to smiles and loving arms.
I lost a soldier of my own a long time ago and learned today that a friend from my school days, someone I had lost track of, didn't make it home. I can feel a ghostly hand laying on my shoulder as I write this and in my mind I see my lost soldier and my friend walking off together to a rest they both deserve.