SHERPA FAMILY DRIVEWAY, sometime last week--I'm looking in the review mirror while backing up Das Sherpawagon, ready to launch the family on its respective morning commutes to daycare, to grade school, and to the Iowa National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. These are all places, I must note, of institutional learning differing only in the level of adult supervision provided therein.
"Daddy, thank you for keeping our country safe," 5-year-old Lena says from the backseat. Her kindergarten class recently focused on the topic of heroes, and she's become hyperaware of the uniform again.
"Thank you, Lena, but I think that some of my friends do more than I do."
"Like who? Like Elam's dad?"
"Like Elam's dad."
"Elam's dad is gone for a long time. Is he in another country?"
"Yes, he is."
"When you talk to your friends, could you tell them thanks for keeping our country safe?"
"I will. And I'll thank their families, too. And we'll continue to remember them all every night when we say prayers, OK?"
Thanks, guys. Your families, too.