It was family night at the Staunton Armory where the famous 116th "Stonewall Brigade" was based out of before deploying to Iraq in May. I was invited to join my friend and neighbor Jan whose husband, Herb, and son, Dan, returned from Iraq a few months ago.
Family night is for the families left behind -- the mothers, fathers, spouses, children -- of those who have gone to war ... and some whose loved ones have returned from war ... and some who have lost loved ones in the war. Over 50 adults attended as well as 25 children.
The parking lot was filled with vehicles, many with National Guard license plates. Most had bumper stickers ... "Proud Wife of Iraqi Freedom Fighter," "My Husband Is a Marine," "Proud Member VA National Guard," "Support Our Troops," "God Bless America," and more.
Held monthly, the family nights start with a potluck dinner and offer an opportunity for everyone to spend time together. Babysitting is provided for the children who play in the gym while the parents talk and spend some "adult time" together.
Robin and Maurice are the family coordinators who pull it all together, keeping in touch with families while a loved one is overseas, helping those who are about to deploy, untying red tape for families when necessary. They take care of their "family."
For anyone who may like to help support the troops you may want to consider adopting a military family who has a loved one deployed to war. There are numerous jobs that need to be done ... mowing the grass, repairing a screen door, helping in some small way to make their lives easier.
May God bless our military ... and may God bless their families.