Today is my honor to welcome Loretta Rogers, romance author and military grandmother, as a special guest blogger. Loretta will inspire you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a Hawaiian treat.
Kim in Hawaii
Check out Loretta's other books ...