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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 24, 2011 / 18 Adar II, 5771

The Long Way Home

By Tom Sileo


Sgt. Mark Foster and wife



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "This may be the highlight of this game," Fox Sports announcer Dick Stockton said after Sgt. Mark Foster stunned his wife, daughter and country with a surprise return from Afghanistan on the 20-yard-line of an NFL football stadium. During the Washington Redskins-Tennessee Titans game on Nov. 20, 2010, millions watched a tearful family embrace, filling their television screens with the raw emotions of war.

As the initial shock began to subside in the stands of Nashville's LP Field, the 101st Airborne Division paratrooper's spouse, Jodi, asked a dreaded question.

"When do you have to go back?"

Sgt. Foster, 38, hated having to tell his wife and youngest child that not long after Thanksgiving, he'd be back in a war zone.

"My 12-year-old daughter, Kayla, put it best -- (rest and recuperation) kind of sucks when you're deployed," Mark told The Unknown Soldiers. "You have to go back and miss your family all over again."

Foster's feisty wife, who jokingly chastised her Army husband during our conversation for not doing enough laundry while he was home, wholeheartedly agreed.

"It was really hard," Jodi, 33, recalled. "It's almost like they tease you with R&R -- they dangle him being home in front of you."

The sergeant had already been through four combat tours in Iraq, but the last 12 weeks of his first deployment to Afghanistan, after returning from his surprise trip home, were among the most difficult of his life.

"It was probably the longest three months I've ever spent, although they're always longer after leave," Mark said. "It was rough, it was cold and it snowed a lot."

On March 10, Jodi and three anxious kids stood near the Tennessee-Kentucky border at Fort Campbell, waiting for the first glimpse of a returning hero and his brothers in arms. This time, the family would reunite on an Army airfield instead of a football field, but there was still a minor surprise in store for the soldier's wife.



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"I didn't recognize him at first because he lost so much weight over there," Jodi admitted. "The last few minutes waiting to get to hug him were tough, but it's great having him home."

As a career journalist who has never served in the military, I naively asked the soldier how he was enjoying his time off. The sergeant told me he went back to work at 5:30 a.m. the day after getting home.

"When we come back, there is a mandatory reintegration period," Mark explained. "But it's only a few hours a day, and then you get to come home and spend time with your family."

I asked the soldier how he is doing emotionally after his fifth overseas deployment in support of America's post-9/11 missions. Foster told me that loud noises and large groups of people make him uncomfortable.

"I'll be honest -- the hardest part is going to work and still not having peace and quiet," Mark said. "It's nice to just play a video game or watch a movie without having anyone, even the kids, running around. That's the most overwhelming thing because I'm just not used to it."

Like so many military families around the nation, the Fosters are either dealing with being apart or moving around together. In the fall, they will transition from Fort Campbell to Fort Hood, a massive Army post about an hour from Austin, Texas.

"It's been an adjustment for all of us," Jodi said. "You get into a routine, and then you have to change the routine."

Sgt. Mark Foster, who struck me with his up-front, no-nonsense demeanor during our November and March conversations, said it's critical for a nation fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Libya, to comprehend war's impact on hundreds of thousands of American families.

"It's kind of like they get stuck holding the bag," the soldier said. "People have got to understand that when we leave, it's not necessarily because we want to. It's because we have to."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Send your comments by clicking here.

An award-winning journalist who worked in local and national newsrooms for more than eight years, Tom Sileo is a Phillips Foundation journalism fellow. Immediately after leaving CNN in 2009, Sileo launched The Unknown Soldiers, an innovative, deeply personal military blog dedicated to spotlighting the extraordinary men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. In April 2010, Sileo, the site's editor-in-chief, won a 2010 Milblogging.com award for best military-themed blog run by a U.S. reporter. Now the official blog of Vets for Freedom, The Unknown Soldiers has attracted large followings on Facebook and Twitter.

Before his independent writings began appearing on the websites of Vets for Freedom, Military.com and the USO, Sileo was a copy editor for CNN, where he helped launch CNN.com Live, an anchored broadband news service. Prior to joining CNN, he was a newscast producer for Tribune, WSPA-TV and WTVM-TV. He has also worked for The Associated Press. Sileo has a B.A. in journalism and mass media from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. He lives in the Atlanta metropolitan area.


Previously:



03/24/11: Top Gun
03/07/11: It Is What It Is



© 2011, Creators Syndicate

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