Veteran's Day: The Brotherhood - a son returns from war

Veteran's Day: The Brotherhood -
I saw it with my own eyes - because I saw it in theirs

By Maureen Tuohy-Bedford

I SAW the bond among soldiers, the bond among brothers.  It stretched my heart in a way that I never imagined. Evan with Garrett Ross and Brad Putt.Growing up, sometimes I would start to watch those War Movies on T.V. - 'The 4:30 Movie' as it was called.  The War Stuff was scary, but the soldiers were so brave and strong. And the Moms were so brave and strong - and sad.  Some Sons were returning.  Some were not.  And I would turn off the T.V.  I never thought that those War Movies were 'reaI' - but here we are.  Here I am. 

And with Veteran's Day right upon us, I was brought back to those 4:30 Movies, with the return of another mother's son from war. My son.  And I was reminded of the heart-wrenching moment when I SAW the bond among soldiers, the bond among brothers.  It stretched my heart in a way that I never imagined. And will never forget.  Here is how things happened...

Deployment.  Good-Byes.  War. 

We had prayed, and waited, and prayed some more, while a young man and his battalion 'did their job,' as they say.  He was way out in the throes of the war...so we had no contact. No emails.  No letters.  One brief phone-call.  "No News is Good News" became my words to live by...because that truly IS what it is.

He was a 20 year old boy when he left - and an almost 21 year old man when he returned. We were so painfully anxious for his Homecoming.  He was a 20 year old boy when he left - and an almost 21 year old man when he returned.  We could barely wait for that return.  We were ready with it all - the family members, the 'Welcome Home' signs, the joy, the relief, the hour-to-hour updates on the arrival of the bus back on base.  Back in the United States.  Back from war.

The busses rumbled onto the base during the dark hours of the night.  It was foggy and dreamlike at 3 a.m., and the very sound and sight of those busses, carrying our boys, made me start to crumble...but I didn't.  I couldn't.  Not yet.  There were military things that had to happen before they were 'released'...There was the 'unloading of the bus'...the 'checking-in of weapons'...all the final steps in the 'returning from deployment' stage.  And then the boys, the men, our Marines marched out in formation.  Silently, drained, yet so very strongly they marched. To their waiting families.  To us. 

And then he was there.
Right there... in front of us.
I stood back and watched...while we waited for him...our eyes all searching for 'him' in a sea of young, tired men...in moments that seemed frozen in time.  And then he was there.  Right there.  In front of us.  Things were happening in slow-motion. 

There were quiet, holding-on-for-dear-life hugs.  But no words...they were too hard to get out, and we knew that if one word was actually said out-loud, then the tears would just flow and flow. So we let the hugs say it all. 

Everyone took their turn...thanking Evan... thanking our Marines... thanking God... that, you know, there WAS someone to hug and hold-onto-for-dear-life.  Unspoken prayers of thanks.

We were all ready to walk away with our respective Marines for their 48-hours of R & R - they were back with their family.   Where they belong.   With us. 

And then it happened.  I saw it. 

Two boys, two men, two Marines looked at each other... into each other's eyes..into each other's soul, to say 'good-bye' for a time. There were no words.  Their eyes connected and locked - in a grateful, heart-wrenching, almost sad way that told me more about what they meant to each other than words could ever possibly say. 

Their eyes connected and locked - in a grateful, heart-wrenching, almost sad way that told me more about what they meant to each other than words could ever possibly say.These boys, these men, these Marines truly ARE Brothers.

They 'saw stuff' and 'did stuff' during a war, far, far away.  Stuff that 'we' cannot imagine nor understand - nor should we. 

They ARE each other's new family. 

In those heart-piercing seconds, taking our son away with US, I felt like I was tearing another family apart, breaking up the kids... because I was. 

The moments took my breath away and wrenched my heart - and I knew.  The Marines are Family. 

I saw it with my own eyes - because I saw it in their's...

Thank You to all our treasured Veterans.

Maureen Tuohy-Bedford, West Road, West Yarmouth.

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