The only people who have known me longer than her are my family. So when she had told me that she would go on active duty to the middle east, worry consumed me. Through the years we shared our life's battle scars mostly by letters, emails, and telephone calls. She'd stay in touch from bases in Japan, Germany, and that year in a battle-torn country. She survived it, came home, and is retired now. We talk gardens and paint colors, take trips like women of a certain age do together, but nearly every day, I am reminded of one difference. She took orders in a world I would not have been able to live in. She did what was asked of her and did it with a kind, compassionate heart, always believing that what mattered was to seek peace in all things.
Saying 'thank you' doesn't seem like enough, when I think of her and the work she's done. She has a deep sense of humility and never wants attention focused on her. She served, did what was asked of her, and came home to civilian life. I'm so grateful for her work, her sense of duty, and that today, she's just a few miles away, not somewhere on the other side of the globe.