Time to thank veterans
Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, May 21, 2008
At 2 a.m., my cell phone rang. The voice on the phone said, “We just landed and I should be at the base in two hours.”
The news my family had waited seven months to hear had finally come. Our Marine was back on U.S. soil, having landed at the Marine Corps Air Base at Cherry Point, North Carolina. After checking weapons there, buses would bring the Marines to Camp LeJeune, a 45-minute drive, to meet their anxiously awaiting families.
Our Marine had spent seven months as a weapons platoon commander in the Anbar Province of Iraq.
About 4 a.m., the buses arrived to “welcome home” signs, cameras flashing and smiling faces of moms, dads, wives, sisters, brothers, children and friends.
Seeing his face for the first time since October was an indescribable joy! I thanked God for keeping our Marine safe through two deployments in the Anbar Province of Iraq.
That same week in April, another Marine arrived at his home in Wisconsin. Lance Corporal Dean Opicka, was escorted off the arriving plane by Marine honor guards in a flag draped coffin. LCpl Opicka had made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation's freedom. Instead of a welcoming hug, his parents received a folded American flag and appreciation from a grateful nation. At his burial service, Dean's younger brother, Darren, also a Marine, who has served two combat missions to Iraq, stated that he and his brother were both proud to be brothers and to serve in the United States Marine Corps, “to serve the great nation, to serve an outstanding tradition and freedom