So what is home?
Airman 1st Class Robert Sadler and Airman Scott Joiner conduct a security check of a missile alert facility during a snow storm. Airmen Sadler and Scott are mobile fire team members assigned to the 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gino Mattorano)
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MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont.—“I’ve got leave scheduled for the holidays!”
“Are you going home for the holidays?”
“I can’t wait to get home for Christmas.”
These are all statements I have heard for the past couple of months around Wing Wonderful. They are statements I have heard on the heels of other questions that were asked of me a few months ago.
“How is your home in Louisiana?”
“Was your home affected by Hurricane Katrina?”
“How is everyone back home?”
For those of you who do not know, I am from Louisiana, and 90 percent of my family was directly affected by Hurricane Katrina. Three members of my immediate family lost everything and had to abandon their homes. My mother- and father-in-law were forced to move here to Wing Wonderful and live with my family. For almost eight weeks, their home was here with my family.
The reaction of this wing and the reception they gave my wife’s parents caused me to reflect, especially on the notion of what is “home.”
My uncle in Baton Rouge opened up his home to 12 of our family members from New Orleans, and his house has become their home.
So what is home? The dictionary has three basic definitions: 1) one’s residence; 2) the social unit formed by a family living together and; 3) a congenial environment. I have concluded that we, here at Wing Wonderful, meet all three of these criteria.
I was the recipient of an outpouring of love, compassion and support when my state was devastated and my wife’s parents relocated here. I saw the members of this wing come together and offer support, condolences and help in any way they could—just like a family—my Air Force family.
I continue to see that love, support and concern for each of our wing’s members during this holiday season. I see it with all the people who open their homes to celebrate with single Airmen residing in the dorms, ensuring not one of them is left alone or feels unloved or unappreciated. I see it with all the planning going into our holiday celebrations.
I see every aspect of the definition of home, right here at this wing…our wing…our Air Force family.
So, am I going home for the holidays?
I am home.