This One’s For You 2014: Life Begins And Ends With Choices

The next time you take your kids out to a playground or go for a nice calming walk or run, remember the peace that you see around your neighborhood. Imagine if bombs were going off and people were firing heavily powered weapons at each other as you tried to walk out to your car or into your backyard with your daughter.

This One's For You School Surprise

While crime comes and goes in the cities across the United States and the world as we know it, war stays far away. That is due in part to the efforts, sacrifice and the selfless acts of many men and women keeping the peace overseas in Afghanistan. The men and women stationed over there give up the great joy in taking their kids to school every morning, kissing them before bed at night and seeing the rest of their families whenever they want. They make a vow within their heart that their work overseas is a protection that reaches farther and deeper than that of a parent/child, brother/sister, husband/wife protection. It’s a choice and it’s a hard one.

The one sight that doesn’t get old to me is seeing a soldier walk into a classroom to surprise his daughter or having a woman walk onto a field and blow their family away. What we take for granted every day here at home is a special occasion for soldiers and their families. Every day, I wake up and see my son. Vinny runs into the living room and demands breakfast and shows. My wife wakes up and we all share a moment before work and preschool come calling. Later that day, I pick up my son and take him to the park or home where we spend time together. I kiss my son and my wife goodnight every single night of every week. Soldiers fighting overseas kiss computer screens and blow imaginary kisses into a dark stormy sky from their camp at the same time. That is something I never forget.

Fox Sports Midwest will broadcast their telecast of the August 19th game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. The soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan will be able to watch the game. It will air around seven o’clock here in St. Louis and around 4:30 in the morning overseas. The 220th Engineer Company will interact with FSN and its audience during the game. It’s a special event.Soldiers families get to see them on television and the fans around the city get to see true dedication right before their eyes.

Imagine if your life was turned upside down and you were deployed overseas. No Cardinal baseball. No Family. No true security outside of your fellow soldiers. That sounds a bit horrifying to the average citizen but to these soldiers, it’s a reality. Tonight, several families across the world get to come together in the enjoyment of a wonderful game.

My family doesn’t have many direct ties with the Military, Army or Marines. Except for my uncle(a retired Marine), I don’t have any friends or family overseas. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a connection to their struggle every day. Any time you feel like there is a war brewing on your home turf with the kids being late for school or your cell phone not working or a lack of an internet connection on your laptop, remember the war being waged overseas is real. I can’t tell my son that enough as he gets older.

I feel honored to live in a country where men carrying automatic weapons up an down every street in my city is not a reality. I feel privileged to be able to take a walk or run around my neighborhood and not get ambushed or shot at. I feel safe every day. The war is far from this land and that is due in part to the efforts of many brave souls.

So when you see them watching the Cards in earnest on Tuesday night, remember they are free souls just like you. Many of them made a choice to enlist and defend our country and keep it and many other countries safe. Life begins and ends with choices.

On Tuesday, I will join FSN in pledging to the troops, “This One is For You.” In a way, though, it’s a reminder for all of us to remember what’s truly sacred in life. Family, safety, security, and peace.

Find more of Dan Buffa’s work at Cards Conclave.

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