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This photo speaks a million words. It was recently posted to Reddit, with a caption that reads, "His mom caught him spending time with his daddy. He lost dad (SFC Benjamin Wise) in Afghanistan on January 15." Instant tears.
According to the website In Honor of Benjamin Wise, the father of three was critically injured on January 9, 2012, in the Balkh Province of Afghanistan. He died less than a week later. It was his fourth overseas deployment. Tragically, his older brother, Jeremy Wise, was killed two years earlier, also while serving in Afghanistan.
We see so many heartwarming military homecoming stories that make us shed tears of joy when families are reunited after serving overseas for months and years at a time. We marvel at how they make such sacrifices and revel in their joy when they're finally back together.
As great as those are, however, I always think about the children across the country, like this boy, who will never get a surprise homecoming from their mother or father. Their parents paid the ultimate price for our country, and their children will live the rest of their lives without them. I look through the photos of this beautiful family on the website, and my heart aches to think that there will never be more of all five of them together.
As heartbreaking as it is, however, this boy will always know that his dad was a true hero. He will know that he was brave, committed, and a man of whom he can be proud -- a man of whom we all should be proud. It's easy to get caught up in our everyday lives and take our freedom for granted, but seeing this boy "spending time" with his father like this is a powerful reminder of just how much some sacrifice so that we may raise our children with great freedom