Reflections from Coronado Island: Our Military, Their Service, Our Support

To know me is to know I need a little beach in my life.  It has always been ‘my place’…. where I feel centered, calm, able to set the world on its axis again.

My parents understood this, so on the last two days of my trip to California – the two days where I was finally able to unplug for a little, they brought us here, to Coronado.  If you are from San Diego, or even Southern California, you are likely familiar with the island, its beauty and its purpose.

The sand glitters like gold between your toes in stark contrast to much of the training that happens here. Coronado is home to the North Island and Naval Amphibious Bases, to aircraft carriers, naval vessels and to much of the training for the  nation’s elite Navy Seals.

As my family built sand castles and waded in the water, dolphins bobbed in the surf and not one, but THREE Naval Vessels left port and headed out to sea.  Our conversation turned to the Navy Seals – the intense training they undergo…. their commitment to our country.  I have known two Navy Seals.  My husband has known one…. his college roommate’s best friend.  We traded stories, many of them about this friend.  Though Jeff had only met this guy a handful of times, he was the kind to make an impact.

That evening as we watched the evening news, a familiar face flashed across the screen…..that same friend was one of the 31 US Troops, 22 of them Navy Seals, killed over the weekend in Afghanistan when their Chinook helicopter was shot down.  A quick search online confirmed what we didn’t want to know.  A choked call to his college roommate made tragic news unthinkable:  a Navy Seal, a father of two little boys, was also leaving behind a pregnant wife.

My heart aches for her and for all of the small people who have been robbed of a lifetime with their dads….and for the wives who will be doing it alone.  As I read the story of each soldier lost – and I did read every one of them – as I believe all of their stories should be heard over and over again – I was stuck by the irony:  each one of those men died to protect my right, my husband’s right to run on this golden sand with our small people….something they won’t be doing again.

And it is because I have such respect for the men and women of our military that I have dedicated time and energy to one of the many organizations that supports them: Operation Shower.  You have likely heard me talk about them. They provide joyous baby showers for military moms-to-be while their spouses are serving overseas.  A few months ago, I emceed one of these amazing showers at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. It was amazing.

And just this past weekend, I attended an event hosted by Disney Baby, in honor of Operation Shower.  For every person who attended the brunch, Disney Baby donated a baby bodysuit.  As someone who has loved Operation Shower and their love and commitment to the military for years now, I can’t tell you much it means to see this type of support.

Especially now.

Those 31 soldiers aren’t coming home.  But we can do everything we can to support their families and the families of the soldiers still overseas.  You can be assured I will.

Naturally, Operation Shower isn’t your only option, but you can find them online. There is also The Wounded Warrior Project and Operation Homefront.

 

 

  • http://www.crazyadventuresinparenting.com/ LisaCrazyAdventuresinParenting

    Beautifully written. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your friend, you guys. 

  • Tammy Munson

    beautiful . just beautiful. So sorry for the loss your friend. It hurts my heart that 31 families got that knock at the door and know their servicemember will not be coming home.  : ( Makes me so very grateful for my hubby’s time overseas and him returning unharmed.

  • Danielle Smith

    Tammy – thank you.  I’m so grateful your husband is safe at home with you….

  • Danielle Smith

    Tammy – thank you.  I’m so grateful your husband is safe at home with you….

  • Danielle Smith

    Lisa – thank you so very much… xoxo

  • Danielle Smith

    Lisa – thank you so very much… xoxo

  • http://ashleighbaker.net Ashleigh Baker

    We lost a good friend last week, too. His wife, my sweet young friend, is also left with two tiny boys and another one on the way. It’s been a nightmare of a couple weeks for the military community.

    I wonder… does Operation Shower do baby showers for women whose husbands have died in battle during their pregnancy?

  • Danielle Smith

    Ashleigh – I am so truly sorry for your friend.  I cannot even imagine.  My heart aches for her and her sweet ones.  The very same situation as the wife of the Navy Seal Jeff knows… It makes me sick.  You bring up a great question.  I honestly don’t know the answer, but can’t imagine the situation has been presented to OS before.  I know the women who run OS are remarkable and do everything they can to make the transition into motherhood a beautiful and peaceful time – as much as possible.  I will let them know you asked.  Hugs to you and your friend.

  • Danielle Smith

    Ashleigh – I just wanted you to know…LeAnn from Operation Shower emailed me tonight to let me know they have decided to send Shower boxes to all of the pregnant wives of the soldiers lost last week in Afghanistan.  I don’t know if that includes your friend, but wanted to let you know.  If that doesn’t include her, email me: danielle@extraordinarymommy.com.