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.