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Face of Defense: Mother Sacrifices Tradition for Country

By Army Sgt. Debralee P. Crankshaw
Special to American Forces Press Service

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq, May 7, 2009 – While deployed mothers will miss out on their traditional Mother’s Day celebrations May 10, some are making the best of the situation.

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Army Sgt. 1st Class Angela Amundson, left, discusses correct wording for awards with one of her soldiers at Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq, May 6, 2009. The mother of two will spend Mother’s Day helping other deployed mothers observe the day. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Debralee P. Crankshaw
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“This is not forever. This is a temporary stomping ground in your overall life,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Angela Amundson, actions and awards noncommissioned officer in charge for 34th Infantry Brigade.

The Hastings, Minn., native is spending a year away from her 14-year-old stepson, Alex, and her 7-year-old daughter, BriAnna. But for her, Mother’s Day is about more than just her children. Every year, the Amundsons have a tradition for Mother’s Day.

“What I like to do is get all the mothers together and we all go to brunch on Mother’s Day with all our children and my husband’s sister, my sister – anybody we can get to go,” she said. The family started this tradition because they were going to multiple houses for a short time, Amundson explained.

“We’re all family, whether we’re blood or not,” she said. “So I said, ‘Let’s all get together.’ That way, you don’t have to go five different places, kind of like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s much nicer and easier to have everyone together.”

This Mother’s Day, while Amundson’s family is having brunch, the deployed soldier will acknowledge other mothers here.

“I want to make sure to recognize other mothers this Mother’s Day,” she said. “Being a mother isn’t about yourself – it’s about everybody else.”

Amundson credited being a mother with helping her with her skills as an NCO.

“I think being a mother really helps with being in charge,” she said. “It helps you balance positive and negative discipline.” Amundson said she mentors and guides her soldiers as she would her children, and that some of the soldiers even remind her of Alex.

Whether being a motherly figure to her soldiers or her children, Amundson said, she sees Mother’s Day as an important holiday.

“[It] is special to me because I have the privilege to be a mother,” she said. “I remember the day I got home with my daughter. I thought there was nothing better than being a mother, and I still think that.”

(Army Sgt. Debralee P. Crankshaw serves in Multinational Division South.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Sgt. 1st Class Angela Amundson, right, reviews paperwork with one of her soldiers at Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq, May 6, 2009. The mother of two will spend Mother’s Day helping other deployed mothers observe the day. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Debralee P. Crankshaw   
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