A Thank You Note to Military Communities

As a military family, we've lived a lot of places. Fifteen years of goodbyes have been hard but I wouldn't trade them for anything; otherwise, we would have never met: you.

The older couple who invited us to dinner on New Year's Eve. The scout leaders who drove my son to the emergency room when he cut his knee camping and I was hours away with two other kids and a husband who was deployed. The friends who helped me throw a crazy, packed birthday party for my son even though they had no kids and, of course, my husband was deployed. The teacher who said we will be greatly missed when we told her we were moving on again. The babysitter who we saw graduate from college and now get married. We will miss you all.

You weren't in the military but you knew of "us" because you lived in military towns. Or maybe you were military and remembered what it was like. Many of you never "served" but just knew we needed a warm hello. You opened your hearts to get to know us even though we would soon be moving on and, for that, I am very thankful.

We've come to know your towns and your communities, from the diner that still charges $3.00 for a grilled cheese platter to the seersucker suits that parade down the streets for football games. We've had the chance to join your community groups, our kids played on your sports teams, and we lived in your neighborhood. It's not easy having to uproot a family so often and plug in fast, so thank you for looking past my children only being here for the next year and encouraging your children to be their friends. Inviting us to your church. Telling us the best barbecue in town. Asking us if we needed anything.

Being a post-Sept. 11 Army family has meant a lot of deployments on top of the moving. Many people say that Americans don't understand the sacrifice. But I say, even if you haven't lived this life, I appreciate you thanking us and helping us because you realize there is a sacrifice.

Thirty days until the movers come. Another town. Another community. As we say goodbye to friends and this military town, I think about everything we've had the chance to see and, especially, all of the people we've been fortunate enough to meet. This was your town but you made it our town. We hope you know how much that means to so many military families.