Welcome Home, Sir
I did not come from a military family. When Brian became my son, I had much to learn. I must say, I am usually a pretty willing student. And that is definitely so in this case. I have been more patriotic than most since I was a very young woman. I attended a teacher's convention at which attorney David Gibbs gave an address which caused me to recognize the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform and the cost of my freedom. I think I was twenty-two. My liberty is of utmost importance to me in light of my faith and my need to proclaim as well as live it. I am hugely indebted to not only the men and women who gave their lives to procure that freedom, but also to all of those who were and are willing to do so. Brian is at the top of my list. So Brian is currently stationed on a naval base in California. This is his last tour of duty before retiring from the US Navy. My daughter, Sarah, is his bride of just two years. They are so good together. I will never tire of what happens when we drive onto that base. I never get to handle my driver's license while I am visiting. That is because it needs to be held by Sarah or Brian, which ever one of them is the driver of the truck as we enter the base. My favorite to be driving is Brian. Because then it goes like this: We wait in line until we get to the big stop sign. It is there that you wait for the sentry on duty to motion for you to move your vehicle forward. The process requires patience. I'll tell you about the gates in a minute. When it is your turn you approach two soldiers. One is there to check IDs. The other stands next to him with a heavily loaded machine gun strapped across his body and his hands positioned on it as though he were about to be fighting off the Taliban at any moment. The sentry usually speaks to the driver with a friendly greeting. Something like, "Good afternoon. How are you doing today?" At the same time, he is receiving the IDs from Brian's hand. Now, you have to know Brian to truly understand how genuinely open and friendly and casual he is. So he just goes right in to chatting it up with the soldier. And I always watch for that split second when that soldier reads the info on Brian's ID. The chatting ends for him, as he snaps to attention and salutes Brian, and using a different, more serious tone, calls him 'Sir'. Brian just continues with his friendliness towards the soldier as we pull away. But I sit in the backseat with tears in my eyes. Every single time. I will tell you here that the 'pulling away' involves three different prison-type barriers that open, allowing you to pull forward a few feet, and then close back up behind you. This must be completed with the first before the second barrier or gate does the same, until you get through the third and you are physically on base. My thoughts on the subject are simple. First, I am thankful to know that my little girl is safe here, so far away from me. And secondly, I am so proud to know that this amazing man is ours. He has called me 'Mom' from the very first time that we spoke. Sarah didn't even know at that point how serious he was about her. But I knew. Thank you for your service, Lieutenant Brian Danner. I love you very much!