When I was 10, I decided to run away from home. I packed a bag, made a sack lunch for the journey (which was all the way to my favorite hiding spot just behind the carport), and wrote my mom a good-bye letter. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but I do remember including an address where she could send me mail:
Heather’s New Home
End of the Carport
Even then, I didn’t want to leave home without someone knowing how to reach me. In fact, I desperately awaited the first note from my Mom, which I was sure would say how much she missed me and wanted me to come home.
That yearning for connection I felt as a child led me to the military. Though my time as an airman in the U.S. Air Force is one of my proudest achievements, every moment I spent away from the people I loved was painful.
This need for contact with our families while separated is nothing new. A look through military history offers examples of the challenges service members and their families faced to stay in touch.