Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm Published!

On June 15, 2007 I became a "published author". This was in our local paper Focus Magazine. The photos included were the profile photo from this blog and Kris in full body armor.

Home Grown Heros - A Mother's Tale

Two unique PCHS graduates are currently serving our country in Iraq; both with the U.S. Army. What makes them unique? They are brothers and they are my sons.

Cpt. Christopher “Kris” Matthew (left, in Iraq wearing full body armor) graduated from PCHS in ’96 and from West Point in ’00. Kris is the Commanding Officer of the 111th Sapper Company (Combat Engineers) out of Ft. Riley, Kansas, which deployed to Iraq in Sept. 2006. This is his second tour and his expected return date is January 2008.

Kris’ wife, Cpt. Katie Matthew, is also a West Point grad and is presently the Aid to the Commanding General at Ft. Riley. Katie has served in Uzbekistan and Iraq, in ’01 and ’04, respectively. She and Kris have both been offered teaching positions at West Point. Katie will begin her Masters’ program in the fall and Kris will begin upon his return from Iraq. Once their Masters’ degrees are complete they will teach at West Point for at least three years.

Pfc. Austin Matthew is an ‘03 PCHS grad. He enlisted in the Army in Oct. 2005. Austin is a “foot soldier” with the 4th Stryker Brigade out of Ft. Lewis, WA., which deployed to Baghdad in April as part of the new “Surge.” Austin’s expected return date is July 2008. Both Kris and Austin had their tours extended from 12 to 15 months.

My husband and I chose to raise our boys (and our girls, Stephanie Ross, PCHS ’97 and FSU ’01, and Kylee Matthew PCHS ‘01) in Plant City because it is still one of those special places where people retain old-fashioned values of citizenship, community and faith. Our family has attended the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Plant City for many years. We still live in our historic home in “downtown” Plant City, known to our children as “home base.”

It has been very hard to accept that both of my sons are in Iraq at the same time; I don’t think it’s right for more than one child from a family to be in harm’s way like this. The “Private Ryan Act” is a popular myth that many think would prevent this situation. One soldier of any given family would actually have to be killed in action before the other one would be allowed to return to the U.S.

The photo of me and Austin from the day we took him to the airport after his “goodbye leave.” Holding his hand while he walked away until there was just expanding space between us was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. The last time I saw Kris he gave me hug like none other; it spoke volumes of what the future could possibly hold.

My sons are very typical of today’s American Soldier. They took the oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;” and to “obey the orders of the President of the United.” Today’s soldiers are in Iraq because that is what is required of them to do their jobs, and they take their jobs very seriously.

During one recent IM (instant messaging) session with Austin I posed a silly (but wishful thinking) question. I asked him if I could somehow get the President to allow him to come home from the war, would he come home. His answer was very emphatic, “only if all the other guys get to come home too.”

5 comments:

trishkfl said...

Good job Army Mom! We get Focus Magazine here in Dade City, I will look for it!

Mel's Mom said...

I liked the entire post, but I have to admit- Austin's response at the end was what really stuck out...THAT'S a soldier. Thanks for sharing!

Army Mom Times Two said...

Great article! You make us all very proud to be parents and loved ones of our soldiers !

Kila said...

That was very good!

You raised a great family :)

Sarge Charlie said...

You should change your name to Proud Army Mom Times Three. I had lost your link but saw you not on Mel's the other day.