This month, we have shared stories of service and honor as we recognize the men and women who have so courageously served our country. As a military mother, my heart swells with pride each time I think of my son’s dedication to our country, but this pride has not come without much sacrifice.Being apart from family during the holidays is one of the many sacrifices our military men and women must make. As a mother who has experienced years of missing my son while he was on deployment, I know first-hand that these moments can be some of the hardest and most challenging.
This week most of us are busy planning a special Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, and looking forward to watching parades and football with full bellies. During all the festivities, I hope you will take a moment to remember those who aren’t with their families. Many service members won't have the pleasure of homemade family dinners or the joy of watching their favorite football team beat their dreaded rival. Instead they are standing watch or trying to get a few hours of sleep before they need to perform their duties on yet another twelve hour shift for the tenth day in a row.
This time last year, I shared the story of my son, James, who with the help of my Southwest Family, snuck into Dallas from Kuwait and completely surprised me at work after his yearlong deployment in Iraq. A year later, I’m amazed to see how things can change! James completed his commitment to the Navy this past summer. He was just married to my new daughter-in-law, Tiffany, and they are in the process of relocating from San Diego to Temple, Texas, to begin his new civilian career. I am delighted to share that this year he will be able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with our family. We are so grateful!
James and his wife, Tiffany
There are still many service members and their families who aren't so lucky. For some, this will be the first holiday they've missed; for others it will be too many to count; and still others have loved ones who never got to come home. Whatever your holiday plans this year, I hope you will keep our military and their families in your thoughts and show your appreciation in whatever way you can, whether it is sending care packages or volunteering with a military organization.
Happy holidays to all of you! May you and your families be blessed to be together—whether in person or in spirit. And to all of our Military, both active and inactive, I salute you and thank you sincerely for all you have done for our country! Thank you to all the parents, spouses, children, and other family members who have sacrificed alongside them. May your strength and appreciation be returned to you ten-fold in the years to come.
Patriotism runs deep at Southwest Airlines, and we are proud of all those who serve, especially the nearly 5,800 Active Duty, Reservists, and Veterans who are part of the Southwest Family. In celebration of Military Heroes Month in November, you’ll hear about and read blogs about service, how we honor the military, the sacrifice these heroes make, and how we celebrate the brave who fight for our Freedoms. Who’s your hero? How do you appreciate the military? Share your story by commenting below.