I attended the Mobilization Ceremony on Monday, May 4 at the Jackson County Expo. My son is being “deployed” to Iraq along with the other 650 soldiers from this area. In 1965 I attended a ceremony of another kind. My brother had been “drafted” into the army. My mother and I took him to Travis Air Force Base in California, alone. We put my brother on the plane, alone. He left for Fort Lewis, Washington for his boot camp. From boot camp he left for Viet Nam- no fan fare, no preparation beyond boot camp, no support for him or us.
War continues, the location has changed from the muddy swamps of Viet Nam, or the lands of Japan, Germany, Korea, etc., etc., etc. to the desert of Afghanistan and Iraq. I must say, though, more than the location has changed. We no longer send our young sons and daughters to war alone. We are sending off well prepared men and women along with a giving support team to assist the family left behind.
The Mobilization Ceremony at the Expo honored the soldier, but it also honored those who will be left at home praying and supporting their loved one. It is not the lonely transition it was for my brother. My husband and I, our family and our soldier son have been connected with a large support group who reached out to us and our soldier in a very real way Monday.
There was a list of dignitaries and politicians who spoke. Traditional ceremonies took place, bag pipes played and the army band played. But what impressed me the most were the people who came to give to the families information of support services, both military and civilian. These people sought us out to let us know they are there to help. I did not see or hear one political opinion on war.
Kristy Lee Cook (2008 American Idol Finalist) did a beautiful job of singing the National Anthem.
Having had a few “friends” devalue the military and the war that our families are serving in, I truly appreciated the effort of those who organized Monday’s event. It was an opportunity for my family to get together to honor our soldier, and also an opportunity for the Rogue Valley to show their support for these men and women who will be sacrificing so much for us. Now, from my heart, thank you soldiers for what you are doing. May God Bless you mightily.
By Sue Campanelli
For the Upper Rogue Independent