Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla. Their son, Donald Wayne (Trey) West, III, was born March 19, 2007. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Day 253 - After the Fall

The first cool snap of Fall sneaked into Hot Springs overnight. Autumn color tips the trees, a gentle reminder of the eternal principal of resurrection life: 'Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.'

In an Op-Ed piece published earlier this week by The New York Times, author John Grisham explains why Katrina is no match for the spirit of Mississippi:
As dark as these days are, though, there is hope. It doesn't come from handouts or legislation, and it certainly doesn't come from speeches promising rosy days ahead...Hope here comes from the people and their remarkable belief that, if we all stick together, we'll survive...

Normalcy is the key, and the people cling to anything that's familiar - the school, a church, a routine, but especially to one another. (Read the entire editorial.)
Wayne called yesterday, asking questions about online college registration forms. Eager to beat a looming deadline for Spring semester, our conversation felt curiously normal, like 'this is what we usually do this time of year. He'll actually be back in school in a few months.'

That glimmer of hope yesterday was welcome as the promise of Fall this morning.

It's been a while since we took time specifically to thank all of you who are making the journey with us this year while Wayne is deployed to Iraq. We know he has been encouraged by your comments, surrounded with your love and protected by your prayers.

So have we, and there's definitely hope in that.

(Also posted at Mudville Gazette.)

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