May 8, 2010

Hey Mom - you're not forgotten!!

A stand-in Mother’s Day card
By Luke Larson

On this Mother’s Day millions of heartfelt cards will be sent. When opened they will reveal great appreciation for all the sacrifices mothers endured for their children. However there will be one group who desperately would love such a card - although their mailbox has the highest chance of remaining empty - they are the mothers of the 180,000 service members presently in Iraq and Afghanistan. These moms would gladly forfeit their card for the knowledge that their grown children are safe.

So I offer this letter as a stand-in to my own mother for my twin-brother, a Marine officer, who is currently deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan I also offer this to all the mothers whose adult children are in a combat zone a world away in dangerous cities such as Ar Ramadi, or Marjah.

During my two tours to Iraq in 2005 and 2007 I did not write my dear mother on Mother’s Day. It was not for lack of appreciation but rather my total commitment to the task at hand. As an infantry officer I felt tremendous pressure to get my platoon and company back to the States safely. While some in uniform had an opportunity to send a card or an email, my focus on men and mission too often blocked out my duties to my own family- like writing Mother’s Day letters.

I do not envy what a mother experiences during a deployment. What the wives and mothers experience is far worse than that of the Marine or soldier experience because they are thinking worst case. They need to be consoled in knowledge that the soldiers and Marines fight hardest to bring each other home.

In these years of multiple deployments, many mothers wonder “Do they appreciate that I’m worried sick about them?” I can assure you they do. After yet another long day in Ramadi, I found no greater joy than to open a letter from my mom and read about how, “They’re calling for rain and everything’s same ol’ same ol’ in Johnsonville.”
So to the Mother’s of sons and daughters deployed on this day I offer this as a stand-in Mother’s-day card, and convey my deepest gratitude for your continued support of your children’s service to our country. Don’t take an empty mailbox as lack of gratefulness, but rather their commitment to send their fellow sons and daughters home safely to you.


Luke Larson served two tours in Iraq as a Marine Infantry Officer. He lives in Phoenix, AZ with his wife, Kristen and is author of “Senator’s Son: An Iraq War Novel

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