Happy Mother's Day
In another Mother's Day tribute, we mentioned two categories of Military Mothers: mothers who are in the military, and mothers of children in the military.
There's a third category of military mothers we also honor on Mother's Day: mothers who, because their spouses are in the military, must often be mother and father to their children when their spouses are deployed.
All these military moms are heroes in their own right, and we honor each of them today.
Mothers who are in the military themselves, mothers of children in the military, and mothers whose spouses are in the military, all make significant contributions to our lives, and sacrifices for the betterment of our country and our world, and the future of all our children.
We'd like to recognize a special woman in each of these categories on this Mother's Day, and others like them.
Active Duty Moms
Despite missing the traditional Mother's Day celebrations today, some deployed mothers are making the best of the situation and celebrating with each other.
"This is not forever. This is a temporary stomping ground in your overall life," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Angela Amundson, actions and awards NCO in charge for 34th Infantry Brigade.
Amundson, from Hastings, Minnesota, spent a year away from her 14-year-old stepson, Alex, and her 7-year-old daughter, BriAnna, while serving on active duty. But for her, Mother's Day is about more than just her children.
The Amundsons have a special tradition for Mother's Day. All the mothers get together and go to brunch on Mother's Day with their children and other family members. That keeps them from making the circuit of various family homes, and they all visit together.
While Amundson was depoyed, and her family was having brunch in Minnesota, the deployed soldier acknowledged other mothers at Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq.
"Being a mother isn't about yourself – it's about everybody else," she says. So she spent her Mother's Day recognizing other deployed mothers in Iraq.
Amundson credits being a mother with helping her with her skills as an NCO. "I think being a mother really helps with being in charge," she said. "It helps you balance positive and negative discipline." Amundson said she mentors and guides her soldiers as she would her children, and that some of the soldiers even remind her of Alex.
Mothers of Military Service Members
Mothers spend their lives nurturing and protecting their children. One who has never been there can only imagine the worry and dread that fills a mother's heart when her child goes into combat.
Those mothers with children currently serving in the military are known as Blue Star Mothers. And those whose children have given their lives in service to our country are Gold Star Mothers.
We have written several times about our friend Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee. Debbie's son Marc became the first Navy SEAL to give his life in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Marc deliberately stepped into the line of fire in Ramadi, Iraq, to create a distraction that helped facilitate the rescue of a severely wounded fellow SEAL.
Since that fateful day, Debbie has dedicated her life to honoring Marc's legacy and expressing gratitude to our service men and women. Marc's name means "Mighty Warrior," and Debbie has established a non-profit organization called "America's Mighty Warriors" to carry out Marc's request in his last letter home to "pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your children come into contact with a great conflict like that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they are people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion."
This remarkable woman traveled to Iraq with the pro-troops organization Move America Forward to deliver Christmas cards and messages to our troops, and donned a kevlar helmet and body armor to walk the streets where her son gave his life.
Debbie Lee proudly exemplifies the Gold Star Mother, offering support and encouragement to other women unwillingly inducted into that special sisterhood, and is an outspoken advocate for our troops.
Mothers Who are Military Spouses
Those mothers whose spouses are in the military face special challenges. When their spouses are deployed, these women must be both mother and father to their children.
Many of them manage to create careers of their own despite the challenges of being a military spouse. Having been a military spouse who went through two moves in six months between my first and second years of law school, I understand some of the challenges faced by these mothers. That was hard enough without children, and I am in awe of these women who manage to overcome similar challenges while also taking care of children.
One military spouse mother we'd like to recognize on Mother's Day is Navy spouse Wyndi Wheaton. Wyndi is also a lawyer, and holds licenses in two states as a result of Navy moves.
While her husband was on a 12-month deployment, Wyndi gave birth to baby number three. So in his absence, she was both mom and dad to a 3-year-old, an 18-month-old, and a 6-month-old. When her husband returned, they made another PCS move, and Wyndi faced her third bar exam to be licensed in yet another state, thanks to the Navy's transfer of her husband.
Wyndi, my hat's off to you. I can't imagine how you do it. Thanks for providing us this updated family portrait after your husband's return.
Also in this category is 2009's Military Spouse of the Year and Marine Spouse of the Year, former Marine NCO Tanya Queiro. Tanya also had to be both mom and dad to her three children while her husband served two tours each in Afghanistan and Iraq. Congratulations, Tanya. Semper Fi.
Remarkable women all, we ask you to join us in wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all military mothers!
Tell us about your favorite military mom, and honor her with her own page on this site.
And read about some more remarkable military mothers.
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