"Home Front" by Kristin Hannah
I told you I was going to read all her books. I'm reading two a week! This book was a little different from Winter Garden and The Nightingale in that it was about modern day times. The story is about a family whose mother is a helicopter pilot in the Armed Forces and is deployed. The book takes a real look at our service men and women and what they sacrifice to fight for our freedoms. It also takes a hard look at PTSD and how much of a struggle it is for them to integrate back into their families. Jolene, the pilot, is struggling with leaving her two children and the marriage that is already on the brink. She does not know what she will come home to or even if she will come home at all. When Jolene returns more broken than any of them could imagine it will take a battle of strength and love to bring their family back together again. "Marriages go through hard times. Sometimes you have to get in there and fight for your love. That's the only way for it to get better." All relationships are hard and most are worth fighting for. "She was the one who took care; he was the one who took. One-sided relationships are so very hard to overcome. Sometimes we need to look at serving though instead of selfishness. "But it's also my job to show you what kind of person to be, to teach you by example. What lesson would I teach you if I ran from a commitment I made: I I was cowardly or dishonorable? When you make a promise in this life, you keep it, even if it scares you or hurts you or makes you sad." A promise to love and cherish someone till death, a promise you don't just throw away. What are we teaching our children if our marriage are so easily thrown away and not fought for? "Saying good-bye to loved ones is the most difficult act for any soldier." They've trained for battle but have no training to say good-bye to the people they love most in the world. "The cost of war was here, in this room. It was families being torn apart and babies born without their parents at home and children forgetting their mother's faces. It was soldiers-some of them his age and others young enough to be his sons-who would come home wounded...or not come home at all." I think we forget the humanity behind the men and women who serve. Their lives are the cost of war. "He'd made her happy; that was something he'd always known. What he'd forgotten was how happy she'd made him." We get so caught up in the irritations we forget to be grateful. "We all knew it would be hard to have you gone, but no one told us how hard it would be when you came back. We'll have to adjust. All of us." Our soldiers don't come back the same and yet we expect them to. But how could they after what they have seen and experienced? "They are heroes, our soldiers, the men and women who go into harm's way to protect us, our way of life. It doesn't matter what you think of the war, you have to be grateful to the warriors, of whom we ask so much. To whom we sometimes give too little." I couldn't agree more. "But how do you help someone deal with horrors you can't imagine? And how does a soldier come home from war, really? As a nation, these are questions we need to ask ourselves." Really ask ourselves. These are people, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, who have sacrificed so much. We owe it to them to take a long, hard look on helping them return and integrate back into their families and society. "There was so much training before one goes to war, and so little for one's return." My heart is heavy with this statement, especially when the hardest part is probably the coming home. Why do we do these heroes such a disservice? "How could it be harder to come home than to go to war?"
I appreciated this book for its honest look at our soldiers and PTSD. I have a soft spot for our military and am thankful for their sacrifice, something I am trying to pass on to my girls. My girls wrote a thank you note for Veterans Day to our neighbor all on their own and he framed the notes and hung them in his garage. Every time he sees my girls he gets teary eyed and thanks them for their kind words. That's sometimes all it takes, a simple acknowledgement of their sacrifice and letting them know you are grateful. I know we can all do something so simple.