Reasons for gratitude show up all the time. This morning I opened my e-mail and read a message from my daughter who had served in the Army from 2003 through 2006. The message was about her former drill instructor who was killed earlier this month in Afghanistan during combat operations.
And while I never met the man, I have a photo of him on my computer which was taken during her graduation from basic training in Columbia, South Carolina.
Her message reminded me of when she was deployed to Afghanistan for nearly a year in 2004. Even though we were able to have telephone conversations that were as clear as if she were next door, I was emotionally numb much of the time because of the danger she was in at her base on the Pakistan border. It wasn't until she returned to her base in Hawaii that I was back in a comfort zone.
While it's one thing to read about our soldiers making sacrifices in other countries, it's another when it's our family. Though she still suffers from residual effects of her service, at least she returned and is living a good life today.