Not so far away anymore.
Being a Soldiers' Angel means that I pay a lot more attention to the news than I used to. The events in Iraq are no longer something happening "over there;" every event now has the possibility of affecting someone that I write to and email with. The recent car bombings, for example, happened very close to a FOB (forward operating base) that is currently home to a couple of "my guys." Our soldiers out there have reported feelings the tremors up to a quarter mile away; the blasts, they said, made their "insides shake."
Don't get me wrong; I love being an Angel and it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Sometimes, though, it's hard. It can be very emotionally draining. But we keep sending those letters and cards and care packages, we keep giving a huge piece of our hearts, because they need us. They're the ones living through this each and every day. As one of my guys said, "This war won't be over until I can leave the base without being shot at." They tell stories of the attacks and ambushes almost casually; it's just another day at work for them. Sometimes we Angels hear even more details than their spouses and loved ones back home do; they need to vent and talk about what they're seeing and doing over there, and often, they don't want to cause their families any extra worry or alarm. So their Angels often become their sounding board, their therapist, their ear to listen and shoulder to lean on. And it's a badge we wear with honor. Yes, sometimes we cry. We lose sleep. But we keep going, because they do. And they're what it's all about.
So again, regardless of your personal feelings about this war, I ask you to keep these men and women in your thoughts and prayers.