The room filled with people, tension and hope. The scene was set. The wide-screen television tuned in!
As family and friends of deployed troops gathered in the Johnson’s living room, hope was etched on the hearts of those standing, sitting or lying on the sofas, recliners, chairs and floor! Their faces were varied – some were tense; some were smiling; and some were rather blank – afraid to hope and afraid not to! Silently, all prayed for the same outcome.
Among those gathered were members of the Brown, Murdock and White families who have a loved one serving in Afghanistan. These troops are due home from their second deployment at Christmas 2011. Nearby were members of the Cassock, Lowell, and Thompson families. Their loved ones deployed last Christmas (2010) and are due home summer-2012. And lastly, there were the Johnson, Kranne and Greene families. Their loved ones had just left for their tour in Afghanistan and are not due home until Christmas 2012.
Would the speech about to be delivered by President Barrack Obama change the timelines for these Baltimore families? Will they see their loved ones home much sooner than expected? Will this mean that those who are on their first tour of duty will not have to face another and another? Will the President honestly bring the men home for good?
Mrs. Brown admits that when her son, who lives in Parkville, left for the last time, she thought she would go insane. The constant worry when the news would report heavy fighting or the long days of worry when no word was received. During her son’s first deployment, she says her worry was less on the days of no news but quickly learned that was false hope. Now, it is a constant day-to-day worry. Will he be wounded? Will he be shot and killed? Will he suffer from PTSD when he does return home? She is sure she will!
Mrs. White and Mrs. Murdock are living through their second deployment in a quiet Rosedale neighborhood. Their husbands are expected home at Christmas and they pray that this will be their last deployment; and yet, they know there are other hot spots around the world that could lead to another tour of duty.
Mr. Cassock remained very quiet and reserved. He is quite tense when discussing the fact that his 19 year old granddaughter had joined the National Guard for college tuition assistance. He never dreamed she would be activated and sent first to Iraq and now to Afghanistan where she drives a supply truck. He constantly worries the vehicle will hit an IED and be blown apart. He admits to voting for Obama because he promised to bring the troops home. He emphatically states how upset he is that all Obama did was redirect the troops from Iraq to Afghanistan!
And so the stories went until the President was announced and his speech was aired.
Stop back for Part II: Stories of the others who are deployed and comments by their families. Another column will also review what the President said and how the families reacted
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Note: This author also writes “Cancer-in-baltimore” and “Environmental- news-in-baltimore” columns on icedjamb.com. Feel free to browse those articles.