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Doodle 4 Google shows us that to support our troops we must support their kids

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(Read caption) . Today's Google Doodle, depicting a girl embracing her father upon return to the US, reminds us that life's tough for the kids whose parent is on a tour of duty abroad. Here, a military dad catches his daughter by surprise after she throws the first pitch at a baseball in Florida, May 17.
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Today’s Doodle 4 Google image by Wisconsin teenager Sabrina Brady illustrates the powerful emotion of a military parent-child reunion. Looking at it, I suddenly realized the images I usually associate with soldiers coming home from a tour of duty are images of adults in the throes of emotion — Norman Rockwell’s famous Saturday Evening Post cover of a GI returning home, the sailor dipping a nurse and stealing a kiss on VJ Day. 

Sabrina's image shows it’s actually more powerful to see images of children in a moment of commingled relief and joy. It reminds us that supporting our troops also means supporting their kids.

The theme for this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition, which invites K-12 students to submit an illustration incorporating the search giant's logo, was “My Best Day Ever...” Sabrina won with her piece, “Coming Home,” an illustration of her running toward her father upon his return from an 18-month deployment in Iraq.

The image shows the stages of military childhood: from steadfast support, through expectation, and into embrace.

While my family members are not in the military, nearly all our friends and neighbors here in Norfolk, Va., are Navy families. Deployments are hard on anyone who has a loved one in harm’s way. However, I believe the greatest price paid for our freedom comes from the emotional piggy banks of the children of military families.

Nearby to Naval Station Norfolk — a Navy base supporting US naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans — this is sure to be the most popular Google Doodle of the year.

The image resonates even more strongly as President Barack Obama draws overseas troop levels down and military personnel return from deployments.

One such moving reunion moment came a week ago when Alayna Adams, 9, threw out the first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game in honor of her father, a lieutenant colonel in the Army stationed in Afghanistan. However, when Alayna threw the pitch, the catcher took off his mask and revealed himself to be her father.


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