Veterans' Day is no longer about buying a poppy from a gray-haired man in front of Safeway.
A year ago July my daughter and grandson moved in with me when her wife deployed to Afghanistan. Twelve months is a long time, and Heather resolved to hold the family close. She and Jacob baked cookies and shipped Adrianna special treats. Adrianna called every morning, at the end of her day-the beginning of ours. Every call ended with the same words: "I love you," and "I love you too."
I knew it was a dangerous deployment, and I thought about those movie scenes where officers come to the front door with terrible news. I prayed no one would come to our door, but on December 21st, they did.
The six troops were returning on foot from a meeting when a Taliban fighter drove his motorcycle into them and detonated an IED. Adrianna was in the village to build relationships in order to protect the people at Bagram. She was killed doing that job, and while I know she didn't want to die, I also know she was deeply committed to her work. She was willing to leave her 4-year-old son and her wife, and my daughter was willing to say goodbye and wait for her return. That's what military families do.
Adrianna was buried at Arlington. At services in Minneapolis and D.C. I saw, not uniforms, but proud and grieving individuals who served with Adrianna and knew and respected her-as an officer, a friend, an athlete, a lover of life.