A mothers son goes to Iraq, part 4.

We've asked Melody Pigg to stay in touch with us and write more about her experiences watching her son, Marshall prepare to ship off to Iraq. She has done a wonderful job of telling her story, a story that hundreds of thousands of parents have experienced. We are happy to provide this forum for her.

"In my little bit of idle time that I have to think, I've come to the conclusion that some of the issues that I'm dealing with about Marshall leaving for Iraq are normal issues that the majority of parents probably feel after their child graduates from high school. When your child is young, you are the number one person in their life. The child relies on you for comfort, security, knowledge, advice, and love. As the child grows and matures, usually the teenage years, they start "branching out" more, especially when they start driving. They start spending more time with their friends and their friends families and you, the parent, have to share them more with other people. When Marshall went to the Marine Corps, we had to start sharing him more on a national level. He was meeting people from other states and being influenced by them and hopefully he influenced them, also. Now that he's in the "sandbox" we're having to share him internationally. We feel like we're no longer the center of his universe and in many ways, he'll always be the center of our universe. Marshall has become his own man. The hardest part for us to deal with is that as a parent, you want to protect your child from harm, physical, emotional, and mental, and we're unable to do that. If he were here in the states, that would bring some comfort because we'd be able to get on a plane in a time of need. When you're child's fighting in a war, that's a little hard to accomplish. We're unable to pick up the phone and call him for reassurance that everything is fine. It's a constant, anxious wait, 24 hours a day. All you want is to hear that familiar voice say, "Hi Mom."

Marshall has called a couple of times in the past three weeks. Last week when he called, he didn't know it but the tears were flowing the whole time. I was so glad to hear his voice. He's doing well and still not having any regrets about joining the Marine Corps and especially choosing Infantry. He's living his dream and that's what we wanted for him. Marshall told us that the Iraqi children hear the Humvees coming and the children will flood the streets to see the Marines. The Marines enjoy giving the children hard candy and snack crackers. He asked me to send him alot of snack crackers, so they can give them to the Iraqi children. Marshall also mentioned that they all thought it would be fun to give the children soccer balls. That sounded like a fantastic idea! We're waiting for him to call back to find out how many soccer balls they think they'd need. Then we'll work on how and if we will be able to do it.

Michael talks about his Bubba daily. He likes to inform people that his Bubba is in Iraq and that "he'll be gone for a long time. He'll be gone for 99 days!" We wish it was 99 days. Michael also likes to discuss what time it is on "Bubba's planet." I guess Bubba seems so far away to Michael that he's on another planet. When we wake in the mornings, we'll discuss how it's late in the afternoon where Bubba is and at night when we go to bed, we'll discuss how the sun will be rising on Bubba. The boys really treasure each other and really seem to understand how special it is to have a sibling.

Marshall heading outWe have received so many reactions from society. It angers us when we tell people that our son is a Marine fighting in Iraq, and the response is that we shouldn't be there any way or we get a look of sadness followed by, "I'm sorry." We are enormously proud of our Marine, his devotion to God, his country and it's people and his unselfish desire to serve his country. There are very few people that can make that sacrifice and because of brave, selfless people like him, we live in this wonderful country full of opportunities. People die every day just trying to get to this "land of opportunity." We're proud and honored to wear our deployment bracelets, not only for our son, but for all our sons and daughters serving in the military. Semper Fi.