Military families sacrifice more than most during holidays
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville National Cemetery is a peaceful and respectful place. It's a place where the husbands, wives, sons and daughters of proud Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Ken and Bobbie Casey live on the Westside. The Casey's love their family, and they love America.
Sharon Downey calls the Southside home. She also loves her family and the red, white and blue.
Their lives may be miles apart and seem different as night and day, and yet there is a bridge larger than any in Jacksonville connecting them.
"I usually see them once a year or every other year, or sometimes every two years. I never get to see them at the same time," said Sharon Downey.
"Twice as much concern. Twice as much honor. Twice as much, just the overall caring of the country. It just seems like we are supposed to be doing this as Americans," Downey said.
The Casey's sons Robert and Michael fight for America. And Downey's sons Darious and Farrell serve as well.
"When you sign up to defend this country you know what the cost is. All have given some, but some have given all. That's just the reality of it," Ken Casey remarked.
There is another reality for these families that they try not to think about much. Their sons are their only children. Having one in harms way can be scary enough. But both?
Bobbie Casey feels the same but can't shy away from feeling a bit of sadness. "I'll admit I get a little jealous of people that have their family around them during the holidays, or when there's a birthday, or even when there's a loss in your family," she said.
"We spend a lot more time in prayer for them and ask the Lord to watch over them and bring them back home safe to their family," said Mrs. Casey.
And for Sharon Downey. "I don't have fear. I have faith. And so my faith overrides the fear of anything that could happen. That's just life. So we just cope with that," she said.
Military families know how uncertain life can be. It's an unwritten part of the job description. But these families wouldn't have it any other way.
"I don't have any regrets. I don't have any regrets that they're both serving because they are serving this country. And I'm very proud of them," said Downey.
"I served 28 years in the Coast Guard and served in Vietnam. And I was hoping my kids wouldn't have to serve in combat, but…," said Ken Casey.
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