One of the things I've realized as a result of this deployment is how large a support system I have here. My family is taking on extra responsibilities to make sure my bills are paid. Not only my family and friend have offered to help, though. My co-workers and the people at my church have all said that they'd do whatever needed to be done, including checking on my house and watering my plants. One of my neighbors will be keeping an eye on the house much of the time I'll be gone. It shouldn't have taken this deployment for me to appreciate all the people around me, but in some ways it has. It has opened my eyes to how many helpful people I have in my life. I heard this week that people at my dad's church are praying for me. Since I've never met any of them, I was surprised to hear that, but it's also so nice to hear.
My last deployment was in late 2001 when I went to help out in Operation Enduring Freedom. For people that have never been isolated in a deployment, it's always odd to hear the news going on in the US since you're a world away. One of the worst things was to hear about all the people protesting the war. Now, I know that as a military member, one of the things we're supposed to be protecting is freedom. It's a really crappy feeling to be doing a job, though, and then see that people are protesting your job. People in the US can continue their mantra about "we're protesting the war, but we support the troops" all they want, but, at least in my eyes, I didn't see the distinction. Basically, the message of the protests is that I'm wasting my time and what I'm doing is worth nothing. It was really disappointing to hear during OEF and I started avoiding reading most news. I'm guessing I'll have to do that for this deployment, too.
In any case, back to my original topic, I've come to really appreciate all the people around me and how much support they give me. I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to realize it, but I guess it's better late than never. If you're one of those people, thank you so much!