MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Today, October 26th, is Deployment Day and several valley schools had assemblies to hear some special guests. It was a day to remember those who are serving our country but also to honor their families who are still here at home.
The day at Discovery Middle School began on a patriotic not. “I think the biggest word is sacrifice,” said Anthony Graham, a teacher who organized the program. “They are sacrificing everything for us and not just the troops but the family members. “ Graham wanted to do something to honor the men and women who have served and are deployed right now. But he also wanted to honor the families who are still here at home. Graham added, “It`s so hard for them to be away from their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, whoever it is they`re away from. It`s just a small way we can say thank you.”
One of the speakers was Major J.T. Taylor, a 19 year Army veteran who was deployed twice to fly Apache helicopters over Iraq, first in 2003 and again in 2006. Major Taylor told WHNT News 19, “It`s a selfless service, a sacrifice what the families do when their family members are deployed and that was a good idea to say hey, let`s thank the families for a change and show we appreciate what they do.”
Sgt. Andrew Rickabaugh is a Marine Corps artilleryman with K Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Corps reserve unit in Huntsville. He returned from his deployment in August of 2011. He told the kids when someone is deployed, everyone in that family is serving. And there’s nothing like hearing from them when they’re thousands of miles away from home. “Thankfully these days we can get those open lines of communication back home through Facebook or phone calls, things like that,” said Sgt. Rickabaugh, “And snail mail is the best because they get to send us a letter and it means a lot more to really get that physical letter. “
Abby Kraus, a 4th grader at Hampton Cove Elementary School knows that feeling all too well. Her dad’s a colonel in the Army. Abby and her school mates wore red shirts today promoting “Remember Everyone Deployed.” Abby said, “It`s kind of sad to not have like another parent here and you just have one parent here and you have to face time them or Skype them but you don`t get to hug them.”
And while what she misses most is playing softball and soccer with her dad right now, she’s helping collect dimes through Veterans Day. The money raised will be donated to a smile for troops, a non-profit that sends goody boxes to soldiers who are deployed.