A good portion of the men in my family have served in the military in some way - both my grandfathers, 5 of my uncles, one aunt, some of my cousins.....and countless others. It's always been a big part of my family's history. Both of my grandfathers would tell us stories about their time in service. It was always really neat to me to hear first-hand accounts of wars I was studying in school.
One of my uncles is still in the military. He joined the Army later than most, and he decided to make a career out of it. Since he joined, I haven't seen him nearly as much as I used to. For the past 2 years, he and his wife, along with their two boys, have been stationed in South Korea. 2 years is a looong time. Before they were in Korea, they were in Arizona, so we still didn't see them very often, but they were at least in the states and could visit from time to time. When they moved to Korea, they were a family of 3. While living in Korea, their youngest was born. We were able to keep in touch through facebook and such, and it was great to see the pictures of the boys and to be able to watch them grow up and do kid things. :) It helped us feel like we weren't missing out on too much....
Well, today, they finally came home! :) We had a little welcome home lunch waiting for them at my grandma's house. It was so great to see my uncle walk through the doors. It was like he never left. I was doing my best not to cry....and I was doing okay until he hugged me and he began crying. I know it has been difficult for him to be away....especially with our loss of Ayden and my grandma's health going down a bit since he saw her last (Although, she's one tough cookie!! She's holding strong!). It was great to finally meet my newest cousin, who is only 8 months old. There are 6 of us on this side of the family, and our ages are 27, 26, 25, 22, 4, and 8 months. Haha...huge gap between #4 and #5, but we've enjoyed having little ones added to the bunch. We hadn't seen their oldest son since he was two, so he was bit overwhelmed when he walked in, but he warmed up quickly and he gave me an introduction to what it's going to be like to have playtime with a little boy - nonstop!
So, our 4th of July was spent welcoming home family and being thankful for the service our family members gave/give during their time in the military. They sacrifice so much and don't get nearly the recognition they deserve.
Hope you all have a wonderful fourth of July! Happy Independence Day!