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Standing tall with teary eyes

Damon and Kaden Koskovich, 6-year-old twins, hold a picture of their mother, Staff Sgt. Melissa Koskovich, at the child development center at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, on Tuesday, April 25, 2006. Sergeant Koskovich is currently deployed from Mountain Home to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in Southwest Asia.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Stives)

Damon and Kaden Koskovich, 6-year-old twins, hold a picture of their mother, Staff Sgt. Melissa Koskovich, at the child development center at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, on Tuesday, April 25, 2006. Sergeant Koskovich is currently deployed from Mountain Home to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Stives)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- The mutated stick figures on the paper were cheerful. They held hands and stood among flowers. For a brief moment I smiled, then a tear ran down my cheek -- I missed my kids. 

Deploying has never been easy, especially as a single mom of 6-year-old twin boys, but this time seemed to be the most difficult yet. 

I sat in my 10x10 room in the middle of the desert and wondered what they were doing at that moment. 

Their soccer game was today. 

I imagined Kaden, the younger of the two (by 15 minutes), scrambling across the soccer field, giggling as he went, and Damon, the oldest and boldest, guarding his goalie box with fervor, ready to pounce on the ball if it dared to enter his realm. 

I wondered how they were doing in school. Were they brushing their teeth at night? Were they smiling? 

I remember the day I left. 

Damon told me before I got on the plane, “Mommy, don’t get dead.” In his dramatic tone Kaden told me, “If the bad guys chase you, run faster! OK?” 

In their innocence, they see me as a G.I. Joe, going off to battle to protect the babies and the puppies. 

They don’t understand the cruel reality of our world. 

We are engaged in a war on terror that affects the safety and security of every American, including my little angels. We face dangerous enemies who want to harm our people and destroy our way of life. 

All of this whirled around in my mind, and I wondered why I hadn’t put up a fight when the deployment orders were dropped on my desk. I could have tried to get out of it -- gotten a waiver, kicked and screamed, but I didn’t. 

How could I? 

The love I have for them and the desire I have for their safe and happy future is precisely the reason I wear the uniform, and I know I am not alone. 

As we deploy, anniversaries pass, Christmas carols are sung, birthdays are missed and babies are born without their fathers. 

A time of war is a time of sacrifice, and a heavy burden falls on military families. Despite this, we hang stick-figure drawings on our walls, treasure the phone calls, dry our tears and stand tall -- for the love of our country, and the love of our families.

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