PLEDGE NOW
On the Homefront
Vice President Joe Biden awards the Bronze Star to Maj. Lisa Garcia during a welcome home ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C., Wednesday, April 8, 2009. Biden welcomed home the XVIII Airborne Corps from Iraq after their second deployment. At left is Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commanding General XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. (AP)

Vice President Joe Biden awards the Bronze Star to Maj. Lisa Garcia during a welcome home ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C., Wednesday, April 8, 2009. Biden welcomed home the XVIII Airborne Corps from Iraq after their second deployment. (AP)

U.S. troops were back in the spotlight in recent days: with the new President in Baghdad; greeted home by Vice President Joe Biden at Fort Bragg; carried from a troop transport at Delaware Air Force Base in a coffin, the first homecoming of American war dead from Iraq or Afghanistan ever to be seen in the media.

None of these comings and goings are new to American military families. For years now, they have hugged and cried and waved goodbye and waited. Borne the daily burden of two long wars. We’re checking in with them today.

This hour, On Point: Military families in the time of long wars.

You can join the conversation. Is this your story? Your neighbor’s story? At home, doing double-parenting, with a husband or wife away, for a long time, at war?

Guests:

Rebekah Sanderlin. Her husband is a master sergeant in the Army, stationed at Ft. Bragg. He got back home from his last tour at the end of January. She’s mother of Bo, 4, and daughter Rudy, 7 months old. She writes the column and blog “Operation Marriage” for the Fayetteville Observer. She is also an occasional essayist for NPR.

Kelly Wright. Her husband Whit is a major in the Army, stationed at Fort Bragg. He has served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He returned from his last deployment a year ago. She’s mother of Hadley, who turns 3 next weekend, and is pregnant with another daughter, due in July — three weeks before her husband ships out. She spent 5 of her 7 years as a military spouse writing the “Home Front” column for the Fayetteville Observer.

Fadia Champlain. Her husband Lucas is an army specialist and currently serving his first tour in Iraq. Her son Martin, a sergeant in the Army, is now in Afghanistan, on his fourth tour. Both are based out of Fort Drum. She’s mother of Martin, 25, Cassie, 24, and Adam, 10. Fadia works with the base’s “Family Readiness Group.”

We asked our guests if they’d share personal photos with us, and they graciously sent the pictures here, so that our listeners can put a human face on the stories they hear on the show today:

Rebekah Sanderlin and her kids, in a photo taken during her husband's most recent deployment.

Rebekah Sanderlin and her kids, in a photo taken during her husband's most recent deployment.

Kelly Wright, her husband, and their daughter, at his homecomeing from his latest deployment.

Kelly Wright, her husband, and their daughter, at his homecomeing from his latest deployment.

Fadia Champlain and her husband.

Fadia Champlain and her husband.

Fadia Champlain's husband, Lucas, and son, Martin, at Martin's deployment.

Fadia Champlain's husband, Lucas, and son, Martin, at Martin's deployment.

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