It’s been four months since I’ve stepped foot on a military base.

Before December 2001, Remembrance Day for me was about poppies and silence and respect for soldiers.

But I didn’t truly know or understand.

Most don’t.

Eighteen years later, all I can say this.

Today, I remember the faces of mothers as they came running to the school to tell their children they’d talked to dad, he was not among the dead reported on the news.
And I remember teaching lessons from the doorway in case.

Today, I remember the countdown to a parent’s return.
And I remember those who came home under a flag.

Today, I remember the dads who came on field trips days before deployment. And I think about one who didn’t because the bus was full.
I remember his daughters.

Today, I remember the children who ran through the doors day in and day out, dark circles under their eyes and smiles on their faces because they talked to mom or dad at 4 am, they would see them in only five more months.
And I remember the rising worry as those months passed because what if.

And today, I remember how lucky I was to be a part of the lives of some of our military members for even a moment.

I’m a better person for having known each and every one.

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