I thought I'd post this so it isn't lost, as memory erodes. When I left to go to Iraq in 2004 my daughter had just turned 2. She's 5 now (soon 6) and doesn't remember a lot about when I was gone, but when asked last year what she did remember, she said:
"I remember standing by the front door with Mommy and looking out the window, and our faces were like this..." and here she made a very sad frowning face.
Almost made me cry.
I was (thankfully) only deployed for under a year, but it was very difficult for me and for my family. I know that I am very fortunate to have avoided a longer tour (or multiple tours), to have come home safely, and to have gotten out of the Army upon completion of my contracted obligation with them. But my thoughts return frequently to my time in Iraq, and to those who continue to serve in harm's way while their families miss them.