09/16/07 — While they’re away: Take time to show families of deployed airmen you care

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While they’re away: Take time to show families of deployed airmen you care

It is not about whether you are for or against the troop surge in Iraq.

It is not even about if you think the war is won or lost.

And, most assuredly, it is not about whether you are a Republican or a Democrat.

It is about knowing that Wayne County and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will have sent more than 600 airmen overseas to assist in the war against terror before the end of this deployment cycle. And that does not even count the other airmen and support personnel who are already in the region fighting for freedom for Iraq and peace for the world.

Once the roar of the jets and transport planes dies down, there will be families left behind, too — children who will not see their moms and dads for months and spouses who must carry on the family duties by themselves.

And that is where our mission should come in.

Wayne County residents have always been strong supporters of the base and its occupants — willingly offering a donation, a waving flag or volunteer time to help the Air Force community.

So, being there for our airmen and their families is nothing new.

There are hundreds of ways to help — offer a lawn mowing or a little baby-sitting to the wife of a deployed spouse or simply invite a temporarily-single dad and his children over for a barbecue.

And if you are lucky enough to know one of these families well enough or work with someone who has just had to say goodbye for now to a loved one, offer an ear. Sometimes knowing someone is there is as important as actually getting help.

And if you aren’t sure what you can do personally, you can still help symbolically. Proudly display your flag until our airmen are safely back home. You never know what kind of comfort even that small a bit of support might bring to a military family driving by your home, how proud it will make a child to know that what his dad or mom does makes him or her a hero.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base has always been a big part of Wayne County — and this community is full of people who have already retired from careers in the Air Force.

So, when a unit deploys, we take that seriously.

Soon enough, the homecomings will begin and base and community residents can celebrate another round of successful missions.

In the meantime, we can make sure our airmen know that while they are gone, their families are not alone.

Published in Editorials on September 16, 2007 12:03 AM