Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A picture is worth so many words

 
Sgt. Andrew Cuce of Gastonia, N.C., embraces his daughter Alyssa, 3, after arriving at the National Guard Armory in Lincolnton, N.C., on Jan. 26. Two busloads of soldiers, made up mostly of members of the N.C. Army National Guard Battery A, 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery, returned home to their families after a nine-month deployment to Iraq.

I saw this photo while reading MSNBC.com yesterday. As my eyes lingered on it, it reminded me of multiple things. The first being that photography is one of my favorite mediums for what it can express without the use of words. The second thing I contemplated is how lucky I am to wake up with my family every day, in my house, on my own time. And the free time I have is used to read, listen to music, play sports, play tickle bugs with our son, or write on a blog. 

Every minute I get to spend with the people I love is invaluable. And for people separated from their families, especially soldiers who volunteer for the duty, all the time apart slips away and can't be regained.  The sacrifice at the cost of their own personal freedoms  is for the benefit of millions of other people. Me included.

I won't argue the sense or senselessness of war, but I will always acknowledge that others fight war, on all sides, while I sat home safely last night, tucked in my Ugg boots and watching LOST. 

The addage a picture is worth a thousand words might have been based on photos just like this one. I found it compelling and wanted to share. What does it say? Love? Relief? Thankfulness to be alive? Gratefulness to return to a life that was left behind for 9 months? Maybe a culmination of all of those emotions. Maybe pieces of a much bigger homecoming. 

A homecoming unlike any I have ever personally experienced. 

I know how heartsick my Mom was when I simply relocated to college. From her words, my absence perforated a hole in my parents' lives. I will likely feel the same when my own son moves away. Neither of these scenarios even compare to the distance both physical and emotional countless other families are currently experiencing. This picture will always remind me of that.

I am hugging my family extra well today.

113 comments:

Simone said...

Great post JennyMac....

And congratulations on 1000+ followers.....woo hoo!! :)

Dustjacket Attic said...

Mmm it brings tears to the eyes that's for sure. We can get complacent about family, till it's taken away.
xxx

Jules said...

Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

singedwingangel said...

After that there is nothing else to say but Bravo..

My name is PJ. said...

That photo is light a spectacular fireworks finale to me - all of the emotions attached to having left the war zone +plus all of the emotions for having left and been away from home +all of the emotions of returning home.

I applaud it the same way I do a spectacular fireworks finale!

LouBoo said...

Hi - yesterday's post made me laugh out loud and today's made me shed a tear...you are so eloquent in pointing out what so many of us pass by in the day to day.

The Sharer said...

NOW, you're talking. Wonderful post.

Sharer

mbkatc230 said...

Thank you - two simple words that are not said enough. Thank you for posting this, and if you see a serviceman or woman on the street, thank them. Better yet, if you see one of our armed forces dining out, buy their meal if you can - you will be AMAZED at how good it feels. Kathy

leigh said...

Off to hug my kids right now!

Mom in High Heels said...

What a lovely post. We have experienced many reunions like this. I always cry when I see one though. My dad was in the Navy when I was growing up (28 years) and I remember many days waiting dockside for my dad's ship to let the gangplank down. As many Army reunions as I've been to and participated in, to me there is nothing like a ship coming into port. They always compel me back to my childhood and the feeling of anticipation and excitement of knowing I'd be seeing my dad again.

Robin said...

That is beautiful and touching...!

Tracie said...

Beautiful. Now excuse me, there's something in my eye. Ahem.

the walking man said...

hugging them extra every day never leads to bad things eh?

A soldier is well aware of what and why they are doing what they are doing. THANKS TO YOU ALL and WELCOME HOME!

Eric said...

That every day is a precious gift is a message that never gets old.

Mrs Gloves said...

What a powerful picture!

...stopping by from SITS...

Steph @ A Grande Life

M@ said...

Makes me want to pull out my camera and follow my kids around all day long :)

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for posting the photo--I had not seen it. Being raised in a military family, these scenes touch me.

Chez Zizi said...

I agree with you completely. Beautiful post. I saw something similar on the news last week about soldiers who came home, National Guardsmen and women to just seeing their children after months away - some meeting for the first time (How heartbreaking is that?).
Made me feel grateful for those men and women.

Zizette

Tiffany said...

i live in NC and these homecomings were all over the news yesterday. i appreciate these men and women so very much...

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy said...

I love this picture!

My husband served six years in the U.S. Air Force and I was privileged to be a part of the military lifestyle. These are some of the most dedicated and courageous people you'll ever meet. Luckily Curtis and I never had to be separated for long, but we were the exception to the general rule. One of our neighbors' husbands, for example, hadn't been home for more than three or four months in the previous two YEARS. I couldn't imagine the impact then, and I still can't.

This was a great post (as usual!). Thanks for highlighting the selfless service of our military. :)

Nonflammable said...

BEAUTIFUL!

Yankee Girl said...

It hurts me to be apart from my family for a week. I couldn't imagine what soldiers go through.

Stephanie Hartman said...

♥Love this picture!♥

Eva Gallant said...

S moving post and a compelling photo. So much emotion visible in that shot.

Michele R said...

I am sure you wrote a wonderful post but I am unable to read it at the moment :) because just looking at the photo has me so teary that I have mascara in the way.

Secretia said...

Pictures like that are like something squeezing the tears out of me.

Brian Miller said...

a wonderful pic that rings heavy with emotion. i spent 8 months apart from my fam once. i dont know how thy do it, but i am thankful.

ellen abbott said...

I was dumfounded when our son told us he had joined the army reserve (oh, mom, he says to me, we're not going to war) and the year he spent in Iraq (second tour) during the height of the bombings was easily the worst year of my life.

Ed Adams said...

You're trying to make me cry all Barbara Walters style, aren't ya?

Michael Rivers said...

Beautiful post and amazing picture. I think it captures all the emotions you listed, and more.

Too Many Hats said...

Those pictures always grip my heart.

F. McButter Pants said...

EVER GRATEFUL.

Thanks for this post.

jayme said...

what an inspirational post to begin my day! you are so right on with all of your words, miss jennymac!

thank you for this post today! and the picture, breathtaking! xxoo

carissajaded said...

Awww this makes me want to call everyone I know and tell them I love them!!!! And I haven't even been drinking!!

Herding Cats said...

I love that picture! It makes me sort of teary-eyed. I need a hug?

cfoxes said...

I have a daughter in Chesapeake, VA, stationed there. She leaves for Haiti on Saturday.

Tsquared417 said...

Oh, I love these types of pictures. So brave and such love!

Ela said...

This is beautiful. That picture truly says a thousand words. At least. I can only imagine the joy building up in their hearts.
Go on and hug that family of yours JM, you're so blessed to have each other :)

JenJen said...

The feeling is grateful, timid, tired, and most of all, relieved. When my husband returns from his deployments the ceremony room is filled with Kleenex boxes and cameras...kids and balloons...chaplains and captains. It's a wonderful feeling, seeing them home for the first time in 15 months. Thank you for your perspective...it feels good to know the sacrifices we, as military families, make are not lost on the rest of America.

Bossy Betty said...

Loved this post.

Bird Shit and Baby Caca said...

Incredible Picture! It actually brought a tear to my evil eyes!

The Peach Tart said...

What a beautiful photo. My heart goes out to the families of the soldiers who are there making all our lives better..

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

Thank you for this. I can't stop staring at this lovely picture. Gonna go hug my husband now...

Thank you for visiting my blog! Yours is BEAUTIFUL, and I think you're a terrific writer! I am a fan!

foxy said...

Wow - that is a truly precious photo. That God we have such brave soldiers that continue to fight for our freedom.

AmyLK said...

I too am gratefull to the men and women who give their lives for my freedom. I cannot imagine what it would be like to leave my family behind.

injaynesworld said...

Beautiful post... I share your sentiments.


BTW... If you want your banner to fit complete on your page, just reduce it to 912 by 320 pixels.

sheila said...

Beautiful! Warms my heart. :)

Myya said...

What a beautiful post! I also wish the war was no so, but on the otherhand I soooo support our troops over there! I was at the airport one time a couple years ago & saw a dad in full military apparel coming thru the gates & witnessed his two kids running to greet him. I cried right there on the spot, what an amazing reunion to see. It was beautiful & the beaming smiles of those little ones I will never forget. I have friends in the military, one of which just had a little boy a couple weeks ago that he will not get to see in person until he is 9 months old. Breaks my heart! I thank every single person putting their life on hold & in danger so that I too can sit with my Ugg Boots watching tv (I was watching American Idol not Lost though :)

Liz said...

As much as I appreciate being away from my kids while on vacation with Hubby for a few days, I can NOT imagine not seeing my kids daily....watching them grow, learn, change. How do these people do it? We are so blessed.

Jen said...

I think about this same thing all the time. I am so torn up about it. B/c we need people in the armed forces but I am just glad its not my family.

During the beginning of our relationship, Jeff wanted to go into the reserves. I was supportive but secretly I hoped he would change his mind. He did.

Joshua said...

"I am hugging my family extra well today."

I hear that.

Intense Guy said...

The picture says so much without words. The closed eyes of the soldier hugging his little girl shows dozens of emotions - the most powerful one being perhaps thankfullness. Or maybe love.

Thanks JennyMac - this kind of beautiful post shows how your soul shines brightly.

Grand Pooba said...

Wow. How can you put what your thinking into such beautiful words? You totally captured the feeling of the picture and we, as readers, understand fully how YOU are feeling.

It's a gift JM, a gift.

Blythe said...

What a lovely photograph.

I do not agree with war, but I do certainly have tremendous respect for people who believe in something so strongly that they are willing to risk their lives for it. I can never get over that.

Shorty said...

Kudos to you for sending out the reminder that as Americans we can sit here to freely blog, without censorship, and without worrying who might take over our home or possessions. Running errands is as easy as pie for most of us. We can pick our own jobs, leave them when we want, etc etc. All while soldiers are sacrificing moments just like those for all of our well-being, not just their immediate loved ones. I'm sure there were truly thousands of words flitting through his mind as he hugged his precious child; or maybe one word in his vocabulary that summed them all up. Either way, great post.

Gwen said...

Beautiful post. When I see these photos I just stop and say a thankful prayer that this soldier returned home safely to his family and for the others that have yet to come home. XOXO

Andrea said...

Very well put!

Pricilla said...

There is so much power in a still image. More power than can ever be displayed in video...

Christiejolu said...

That picture is so sweet! I cry every time a new batch of soldiers come home and they show their reunions on TV. I live near an air force base.

Great post!

HalfAsstic.com said...

It is a very compelling picture. Bless their hearts, I wonder if she even remembers him very well. Nine months is a very long time when you're three years old.
I hope they go home and get right back to a wonderful life.
Meanwhile, Uggs? Really? Oh, honey...;-)

Bombtastic Belle said...

I love the photo - it's amazing. And it brings tears to my eyes, which I think it might a lot of people.

My husband got ut of the Army after almost 8 years in Oct '08, and luckily I only went through one deployment with him (he had one prior to our marriage). Saying goodbye was heart breaking (especially since we'd only been married less than a year) - I still think about it , and how it could have been the last time I saw him.

The homecoming wasn't as big as some of the places we've seen (like Fort Hood when we lived there), but since it was just our small EOD unit with about 20 people, it was mor intimate. I remember them all coming off that bus - how I wish I had someone there to take pictures of it.

Emily said...

I agree...those pictures are moving.

M-Cat said...

Fantastic post! Just yesterday, my husband informed me that my oldest told him if this latest job didn't work out, he was going to join the militay. I couldn't be a prouder mama. Such a very selfless, and worthy thing to do.

Even better when someone recognizes and makes the time to point it out.

Thanks gal!

Kitty Moore said...

That is an incredibly emotive image

JenJen said...

I'm sorry, I just skipped the words after the photo so I could say how moved I was by it.

Holly said...

Whenever I see a photo or news story with the families welcoming home their loved ones from overseas...I get chocked up. I have friends in the Marines and think about them often as they get deployed. I am thankful for their service and bravery...while I sit home in my socks watching Biggest Loser.

Existential Waitress said...

I know exactly what you mean. I get heart-sick for my kids even when they spend the weekend at my mom's. Sometimes I think that I NEVER want them to leave home- even for college. I can only imagine the kind of sacrifice our soldiers make.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

this reminds me of me when my daddy came home from the persian gulf war when i was a little one. I can remember that feeling like it was yesterday.

CatLadyLarew said...

I can't even imagine having to send a loved one off to a battle zone. It's hard enough sending Vlad down the road 65 miles to college!

Summer said...

I have goosebumps, and I'm all teary eyed now. Beautiful photo.

MJW said...

Thank you for this post. I think everyone needs reminders like this!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Great piece. Hard to not see the photo and shed a tear or twelve. What those sacrifice is truly remarkable. We are so far away from our families but at least we can get on a plane where those in the military don't have that luxury to do as they please. Great writing Jenny!

Just Breathe said...

Beautiful post.

Mommy Lisa said...

Bless them and all that are like them...

Rebecca Knight said...

The look on that man's face says it all...

I'll be hugging my family extra well today, too :).

Thank you for this, JennyMac, and blessings to our soldiers!

Poindexter said...

that photograph is very moving. as you mention, regardless of my political views pertaining to military engagement, I am extremely grateful for the men and women who are serving and for the sacrifices they make in the course of that service. This picture reminds me that the sacrifice is something that compensation cannot repay. Thanks for visiting me earlier - so kind :)

Rebecca Knight said...

I forgot to tell you I fixed my email link in my profile :)! Thanks for pointing that out, and sorry you couldn't reach me. Please stalk/email away!

Taylor @ Jimmy Choos and a Baby Too said...

I just started crying seeing that picture and reading this! One of my good friends husband gets home from Iraq today and gets to see his 1 year old daughter! Great post JennyMac!

T!nK said...

Thansk for posting.

I've been through it, and its not easy.I'm glad to be home!

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

I think that picture says all those things! It reminds me just how lucky I am.

Teri said...

I love that picture!

dishinanddishes said...

That picture is sweet but sad...we should all feel so bless to have men that give up so much for us shouldn't we?

shortmama said...

Pictures like that or stories about those homecomings on the news always make me cry!

Jaime said...

what a great picture.

Chief said...

anyone who says this doesnt stir emotions of

pride
love
patriotism
loyalty
fatherhood

isn't really looking at it

carma said...

I need to think of this post when I start bitching and moaning over trivial things (I know you can't imagine me doing that ;-)

otin said...

Very well said! Think about how many people serving over seas have never even seen their own children at all!

Pres. Kathy said...

What a beautiful post!

Working Mommy said...

Great picture!!! I wish that the media would portray more of the happy things - along with the reality of war that they seem to dwell on!

~WM

Kate@And Then I Was a Mom said...

Amen to all of that.

Erin said...

You have arrived, Jenny Mac. You have 1000+ followers! Congrats!

This was an especially touching post. I love photographs that tell stories like this one.

We are all so lucky and need to remind ourselves daily of all the ways we are blessed.

wendy said...

Nice to be reminded of these things eh.
I look at that photo
and can feel this father saying
"my dear sweet daughter, this is all for you"

oh the sacrifices
the love

Jen said...

Oh my that's a good one. I can't stop looking at his face.

Baloney said...

This was really sweet -- and thought provoking.
What does it say about me that my mom was finally glad to have an empty nest? I never heard anything about a void in our home when I left for college. In fact, she helped me carry my stuff to my room until we got to the last load and drove home (3 hour drive) while I took the last of my things in to the building!

Leah Rubin said...

100% true. And the picture is priceless. It reminds me, though, of the soldiers who aren't coming home, whose families will never know that sweet moment of reunion...

Ms Bibi said...

What a powerful picture. Sure makes you think.

Cheryl said...

Hold on. Must cry.

Tgoette said...

What a very sweet photo and a well-written post! Bravo!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

What a beautifully written post. You know before I married my husband (who is ex-military) I had little respect for the armed forces at all. I felt like it was a ridiculous idea that we needed all these wars and that the people out there fighting them must be a bunch of knuckleheads too. But then I met my husband, who is not a knucklehead. He is smart and loving and kind. And he isn't for mindless war. But he joined the military at 17 to get out, if you know what I mean. From a bad family situation among other things. This is the story of so many young soldiers. They are not jerks or morons, just kids trying to make a life for themselves any way they can. And for whatever reason over the years I have also grown to respect that some soldiers really believe in what they are doing too, even if all the violence is misguided. Anyhoo. I really loved this post. You are an extremely talented and awesome writer.

jessalyn said...

i tear up every time i see pics or videos of this nature. being the girlfriend of an ex-military man (we met after he returned from over seas), i can not imagine having to go through this. i am extra thankful for everything i have everyday, and even more thankful that we have brave men like these who sacrifice time with their loved ones to serve our country, something many of us take for granted.
love this post!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This picture is priceless! Stopping from SITS!

Salt said...

This is a great post and just brought a tear to my eye. What an amazing and emotional photograph.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

i have no words. but thank you is in order.
<><

Kato said...

Thank you for posting this JennyMac. Sometimes it takes a picture to remind us of what is really important in life.

Sometimes we lose sight of this, and this is a beautiful reminder.

Cathi said...

Beautiful post and such a heartwarming photo....It definitely makes you want to just hug the daylights out of everyone in your family and be grateful.

Ms. Salti said...

I love this post. Thank you for putting into words the way so many of us feel!

MommaKiss said...

That is beautiful and makes me feel patriotic.

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

Beautiful post JennyMac. Love it. The photo is amazing and it makes me so thankful to be me.

Aunt Becky said...

That picture made me cry. Okay? It really, really did. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Corrie Howe said...

What this photo says to me is that both are thankful to be back together, that they've dreamt about this moment for a long time and wondered if it would ever come.

I come from a long line of military men and married one (at the end of his military career so I didn't have to live this). There is always that question if we will see them again. I'm thankful that I've not lost any of my family in war but am proud for the freedom they purchase for others.

Life with Kaishon said...

This picture is so beautiful. It spoke to my heart.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

So awesome, and so true.

The Absence of Alternatives said...

Well put!