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.
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.