I headed out on this road tour with a lot of excitement but also a fair amount of guilt. Between trips to Baghdad to cover the war and Louisiana to cover the hurricane, I've spent all of three days with my family in the last three months. As you can probably imagine, I have left a lot of untied ends (and dirty laundry) at home.
My parents are getting ready to move out of their home and have 20 years of stuff to sort through and pack up. It's a big job and I'd like to be there to help (and to be honest, ensure that my prized old soccer cleats survive the move and don't end up in the garage sale bin).
The pull between fulfilling work obligations and responsibilities at home always tears at my heart. I guess that's why the story of the Seabee's we met in Gulfport, Miss., really struck a chord. Seabees, in case you didn't know, are basically the builders of the Navy. But now in Gulfport they are rebuilding homes, schools, the city. Some of them lost their own homes in the hurricanes, but they helped others rebuild their homes first.
Now those Seabees are being deployed to Iraq. It's tough, they said, leaving unfinished business at home. After all, a lot of them don't have a home anymore.
Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr told us "the Seabees came in like the cavalry" at a time when he felt everyone else had forgotten about Gulfport. Now that they are leaving, "Gulfport will not forget about them."
After all, this is Mississippi. And as a Mississippi girl, I know neighbors here don't forget kindness. You never return a borrowed baking dish empty. So I have a feeling that when these soldiers return, their neighbors will have returned the favor, tenfold.