Anxious Days Ahead For Military Families - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/17/03

Anxious Days Ahead For Military Families

In one room, Tyler, Zachary and Luke ate brownies. Next door, their mother talked about what it's like knowing her husband is overseas, ready to provide medical assistance for troops in an impending war against Iraq. Kim said, "We certainly are on the right side of this conflict. And we're going to prevail, absolutely."

Kim's confidence is a support mechanism for her friend Sandy. Sandy has two young daughters at home who won't see their father for at least five more months. Sandy said she feels "anxiety and scared and aggravated and mad. It's all of those. It's every emotion you can think of."

You couldn't tell from the BBQ pork ribs that just came out of the oven, but this was also an anxious time at the Biloxi fire house. The fire department has a deputy chief stationed in Kuwait. "Our hearts and prayers go out to him and his family," fireman Jeff Merrill said.

Merrill probably knows better than anybody at the fire house what his colleague is going through. In 1991, it was Merrill who was overseas in Operation Desert Storm. "You must prepare yourself mentally to give your life for your country," he said. "You must know that is the bottom line, if it comes to that. But you also have to believe that you're fighting for something that is worth fighting for."

That's what Sandy and Kim keep telling their children. Sandy's three year old asks daily when daddy is coming home. And why is his job making him stay away. "I just reiterate that he wants to come home," Sandy said, "and he will be home as soon as he can."

Sandy and Kim have become close friends because of their involvement in Keesler's Family Support Center. That organization reaches out to about 350 families who have loved one's ready to attack Saddam Hussein.

by Brad Kessie

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