By Loretta C. Rogers
Private First Class Brandon S. Ross was nine years old when hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He was old enough to understand something bad had happened that day, but to young to grasp the concept of terrorism.
PFC Ross, now 19, is my grandson. He is currently completing boot camp and airborne infantry training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He is assigned to Delta Company, 2nd Battalion 54th Infantry.
My grandson is part of a new generation of U.S. troops inheriting the wars spawned by the terror attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the men and women who took part in the initial invasion of these countries have left the military and moved on with their lives. My grandson and many young enlistees, from the Navy to the Marines, are the new “Changing of the Guard.”
Now ten years later, we are still fighting the Taliban. Because my grandson is part of this new guard, it is a daily personal reminder that the fighting has dragged on longer than anyone ever imagined.
The military history of my family dates back to the American Revolution. Ancestors died in POW camps during the American Civil War. My father-in-law and grandfather both served in the Calvary during WWI. At the age of 19, my father was at Omaha Beach during WWII, an uncle was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked, and a great aunt attained the rank of Colonel while serving as a nurse in Mash units in Korea. During Vietnam family members were either too old or too young to serve. In peace-time, many young relatives wore their uniforms with pride. It’s easy to be proud of these relatives.
My grandson is an only child, an only son, and the last to carry on his father’s name. A talented musician, a gentle lad with infectious laughter, and who never meets a stranger, he loves farming and working with cattle. Brandon’s college major was in agricultural science--that is, until he talked with a United States Army Recruiter. I can’t begin to tell you how many tears I have shed, and the extreme emotional stress my daughter has suffered. On the one hand, we are proud to know he is following in the esteemed footsteps of his relatives who served in the various branches of military service. On the other hand, we live with the deep-seated fear that when he is deployed to one of the third world ‘hot spots,’ he may return home in a casket, or worse be physically maimed and mentally destroyed.
I’ve almost stopped reading the home-town newspaper because it breaks my heart to read about a young local soldier in their twenty’s killed in the line of duty. It brings it all to close to home.
Those of us who are left behind, grandmothers, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, have the hardest job. We serve too—we sit and wait. We pray. We wipe our tears as we write letters of news from home, and not wanting to add undue stress to our loved one, we do not express our fears for their safety.
I tell my daughter, and myself, to just support Brandon, to love him and continue writing to him, even if we don’t receive a letter from him for awhile. When the time comes, there will be plenty of care packages full of his favorite beef jerky, sweet and sour gummy worms, and for his reading pleasure one of my newest Westerns or Western Romance novels.
For Christmas my grandson gave me a T-shirt that says “United States Army Grandma,” and to his Papaw a cap inscribed – Army Airborne. We will wear them with pride. And when we travel to Ft. Benning to attend his graduation February 25, 2011, we will continue to struggle with our fears for his safety and his mental well-being, but we will also watch proudly as PFC Brandon S. Ross and his Unit march across the parade grounds.
Loretta C. Rogers is published with The Wild Rose Press. Her newest novel BANNON’S BRIDES is available at on-line bookstores and at the publisher’s website www.thewildrosepress.com. She also writes under the pseudonym L. W. Rogers for Avalon Books. When not writing she and her husband take trips on their motorcycle. She invites readers to visit her website: http://www.lorettacrogersbooks.com/
Mahalo, Loretta, for sharing your perspective as a military grandmother and a member of a family with a long history of military service. In honor of Brandon, I am giving away a copy of Loretta's book BANNON'S BRIDE plus an Army bling gift pack to one randomly selected commenter.
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment with suggestions on how we can support our troops - pen pals, hometown parades, donations to the USO, etc. Feel free to name a specific organization or charity.
2. The giveaway is open only to US residents but ...
.... I welcome comments from all readers - whether or not you are entering the contest.
3. Comments are open through Sunday, January 23 to enter the giveaway.
4. If you are an international reader, I am happy to share Aloha with you - send your mailing address to email@example.com to receive a Hawaiian treat.
Kim in Hawaii
Check out Loretta's other books ...
I've been sending goodie boxes and cards to the troops since Kathryn Faulk sent out her first newsletter. It's so exciting to meet a soldier who sent you boxes to and hear about how much those boxes meant to not only himself but the rest of his unit. God Bless your grandson, Loretta and thank him from my husband and I for serving our country. I send out my cards through Kelley.ReplyDelete
I think any effort that you put out is appreciated. My niece told me her husband(Iraq)and her were messaging and she ask him what he had for dinner and he said banana bread. I had sent it for Christmas. It is just like parenting. The little things mean so much.JodiTReplyDelete
Loretta, thank you so much for giving us a look into your family history, what a wonderful legacy. I know you must be very proud of Ross, he is continuing a fine tradition of service. And hi to Kim (waving madly)...and many thanks for posting these terrific interviews. BTW, a small publisher just wrote to me and wanted to know where they could send books to our military forces overseas, is there someone coordinating this? I don't know what genre the books are (except I know they are fiction). If Kim, or anyone, has any ideas, please contact me and I'll forward you the publisher info. Loretta, your books look fabulous!ReplyDelete
Hi Loretta: What a nice post. I could relate. I'm a DAR member, and my ancestors served through several wars. My mother's only brother died at Corregidor and received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest honor. Like you, I am humbled by such sacrifice. Your grandson is doing what he wants to do. From his picture, I can see he's a handsome young man who will make you proud.ReplyDelete
To Mary Kennedy--Books for Soldiers is an awesome site, where you can send books to any branch of service. Those serving also make special requests.
Loretta, thanks for a great post. We're all behind you and all those who serve.
Joyce, thank you so much, I'll send the Books for Soldiers info to the publisher, I really appreciate it!ReplyDelete
I'm a proud Army mom. My son graduated from Ft. Benning last June. He is at Ft. Hood in Texas now. He was 11 years old that day the towers fell. When he graduated high school he seemed to drift until he found the Army recruiter. He seems to have found himself, and is so proud to serve.ReplyDelete
Loretta, thank you for sharing your feelings about your grandson. He's doing what he wants even though it plays heavily on our emotions. The most conflicting emotions I've ever had was the pride when both my sons graduated from Boot Camp years ago and then when they shipped out. I don't watch the news when my one son is out of the Country. I can't. But our men and women who sere are our most prized. :)ReplyDelete
Loretta, what a touching story of you and your grandson. I know of Books of Soldiers already, as well as Operation Holiday Card. I think it is great how military families support the troops it must mean the world to themReplyDelete
To each and every one of you--thank you! Your words are both inspiring and supportive. Only those of you who've experienced my emotions can relate better than the non-military person. Ironically, I received a letter from Brandon, today. Maybe it was de ja vu. His first deployment after graduations is to Alaska for wilderness training. Then in June '0ll his Unit will deploy to Afghanistan. I know all of you understand what I'm feeing--you've been there. God Bless you for your support.ReplyDelete
God bless your Grandson and his parents for raising such a proud, strong, and patriotic American. My daughter's husband is an air traffic controller in the army. They live in Germany. Her husband is stationed in Grafenwoehr and thank God, his only deployment in the three years he's been over there has been to Romania.ReplyDelete
I cannot imagine how you and your daughter must feel. At the moment, I know Michael is safe. And they love Germany. But life can change in an instant.
9-11 should have taught us that if nothing else.
At our youth group, we made holiday cards for soldiers abroad and made care packages for military families. I believe it was through Any Soldier (http://www.anysoldier.com/) and it was such a great opportunity to be able to help and give the troops what they needed during the struggle of serving our country.ReplyDelete
Wonderful post from a proud grandmother. Your grandson is a credit to himself and his family. I wish him and all his comrades the very best for their military careers, and pray that God will keep them safe.
great post, Loretta. You must be very proud of your grandson for what he is doing for our country. Prayers for you two, and your family!ReplyDelete
What a heartwarming story. Many thanks to your grandson for serving and to you for your uncondtional support. We had a heartbreaking story about two weeks ago when Christina Green a 9 year old girl who was born on 9/11 died in the Tuscon shootings. Her story really touched me.
Currently, I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. Every DEC we have a care package drive for the soldiers overseas which I think is fabulous. A little something from home means so much. I remember when I was in the military I loved getting Wise Cheese Puffs from my Auntie Sue and sister in NH.
I think the best way we can support our soldiers and military is to just be there for them. Never talk bad about their mission. It would pain me to see the mistakes of Vetinam (sp?) made again. Just be proud of our service members.
A grandmother's perspective is an honest and touching one. Thank you very much for sharing with us, Loretta. Bless you, your grandson, and your family!ReplyDelete
Thank-you for sharing with us. I, too, am a Grandmother with a Grandson in the Air Force and my Granddaughter's husband in the Navy. I share your apprehension but we must have no fear, remembering and knowing that God is in charge. My husband and son served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam and Desert Storm respectively. I knew the feelings of panic, stress, total fear--especially while watching Desert Storm on television. Fortunately for me, a very kind pastor reminded me that fear is a useless emotion and that we must rely on our trust and faith in God to see us through. I pray that all our service men and women remain safe. I look forward to meeting you on March 11th.ReplyDelete
Wonderful post, Loretta! And a wonderful legacy.ReplyDelete
To Mary Kennedy: Operation E-Book Drop delivers free books (in this case e-books) to personnel serving overseas. It was founded by Vietnam vet Ed Patterson.
Strong hugs to you all -- Elissa
"HELP!! My history is I want to molest children who are too young to speak.ReplyDelete
Just like I did my brothers.
Now my brother likes lesbians and I want transsexuals."
How many times did military pilot suck that little boy's dick? How many times did that pedophile suck that child's penis?? Confused how prostitution works, he let the boy drive his car if the boy let him copulate him. He graduated and left the neighborhood before the boy "came of age" so a homosexual pedophile he remains for life. He turned all his brothers into "givers", and one went on to a period of exhibited homosexuality. This mentally ill career military wants his son to have the car in which he first sucked prepubescent penis.
Is there a connection with the transsexual clue with his "wife"?? Is it connected or is this a separate dysfunction?
Was he ever tested? He had a period of sexual promiscuity after enlistment in an attempt to prove he was a man, desperate to erase his history. Did you ever send an attractive tranny to see if he would take the bait?? He did:::His wife!!!
You can only imagine what the military's scathing evaluation of his dysfunctional personality had to say, not to mention what his fellow pilots thought. He had no business being there.
The greeks don't want no freaks. Should have killed himself like he was invited to in his movie.
The pedophile wants to reach up her dress and fondle her penis.
I really like your take on the issue. I now have a clear idea on what this matter is all about.. MilitarReplyDelete
you've got outdone yourself this mature. It is probably the first-rate, maximum fast grade by grade lead that i have ever visible. poder naval e aereoReplyDelete
My Name is, Paula James from Canada, i turn to a vampire any time i want to, I become a real vampire because of how people treat me, This world is a wicked world and not fair to any body. At the snack of my finger things are made happened. Am now a powerful vampire and no one step on me without an apology goes free. I turn to human being also at any time i want to. And am one of the most dreaded and respected person in my country. i am now also very famous and rich with the help of the VAMPIRES EMPIRE. i get what ever a want. i become a vampire through the help of my friend who introduce me into a vampire Kingdom by given me their email: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want to become a powerful and a real vampire kindly contact the vampire kingdom on their email: email@example.com for help. it is real. Contact them today. firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete