Around the world, not everyone has the luxury of these freedoms. Freedom is not free. There are those who must endure grueling training, fight the battles, spend months overseas deployed away from their mothers, fathers, spouses, children, and families to fight for the everyday freedoms we all take for granted. These are the everyday heroes that do it all for us, so that we may enjoy life as a free country. They give of themselves freely, and donate time out of their lives.....for us. You have never met most of them, they are a faceless force. A force to be reckoned with. I am glad they are on my side, fighting for me. Braving the horrors they are faced with and must endure. Dedicating their selves to our country, for me. And you, and for countless millions that will never get the opportunity or take the time to say thank you to these brave heroes, the men and women of our armed forces. I, for one, want to say thank you. I am taking the time and this opportunity, right here and right now to say thank you for your service..
I watched the following video, posted by my friend Tammy Redden, the mother of an American soldier. I cried as I watched. I felt her pain, fear, and the joy at the returning of her baby, Sgt. Brandon Redden, from Afghanistan. I can only try to imagine the long months of waiting to hear from him overseas, waiting to wrap her arms around him once more, as the holidays passed, one by one, without him. I am ever grateful to the families that are left behind, and their strength for letting your sons and daughters go. Thank you for supporting our men and women, your men and women, in the armed forces!
Sgt Brandon Redden's Return from Afghanistan
Sergeant Brandon Redden, enlisted in the United States Army during his senior year of high school. He went to basic training in July of 2011. After completing basic training at Ft. Benning, Ga. he was stationed at Ft. Hood in Texas. He was deployed in June of 2014 to Afghanistan. He just returned to the United States at the end of February. While he was in Afghanistan, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
He is in the Infantry, Third Cavalry Division, Apache Troop. Before leaving Afghanistan, he was awarded the Combat Infantryman's badge. My hero is 21.
Here is what that medal looks like.
I remember when the shootings took place at Fort Hood, where this young man was stationed. I cannot imagine how his mother felt that day. I cannot imagine the horror. I prayed for him that day. Along with all the others that lost their lives, and those who came out unscathed. I prayed for him and all of our troops while he was deployed.
I do not have the pleasure of knowing this young man as an adult, but I remember him when he was a child. I love his mother, him because he is her son, and because he is an American soldier. Fighting for me, protecting me, keeping the freedoms I know and love intact. I respect this young man, and many, many others who have the courage to say, "yes" to the call.
I am an unknown American. I am unknown to these service people that defend our great nation, but one of thousands that continually pray for their safety while serving our country.
Thank you Sgt. Brandon Redden, for your time, your dedication, and your sacrifice. It has not gone unnoticed.
Thank you to my friend Tammy Redden, his mother, and his entire family, for providing such an excellent support system at home for this young soldier. You all fight the silent battle.