One of my favorite miniseries is called the Band of Brothers. It follows the lives of young men in a platoon during World War II. It chronicles the heroism as well as thegrim reality of war. Along the way it also shows how young boys become men and realize how important everyone is to complete the missions asked of them. Not knowing one another prior to the war they become brothers in arms. It got me to thinking about my own bonds with family and friends. Although not equal to a platoon in battle, we all have our own battles we deal with every day. I know my own battles are made easier knowing I have my faith, family, and friends by my side along the way. But I come from a family of six children and I only have one brother. The relationship of brothers is very different than that of brother and sister. I lived through it growing up and now I see it with my own children as they grow up. As with any relationship there are highs and lows. In my case I was the little brother. I got picked on, teased, and bossed around when I was little by my brother, but I was also very much protected. I always thought my brother was cool. He had tons of friends, cool cars and motorcycles, and always seemed to have fun. He visited me in college, took me to parties, and was there during important events in my life. One of those times was when I was struggling with a lot of bitterness and resentment. He showed me how forgiveness is not only healing for the heart and the soul, but it can also allow you to move on. I was stuck and he could see what I could not; a weight was lifted and life returned. But something strange also happened along the way. That came when he told me I was his hero and he always looked up to me. As the younger brother I found this to be very confusing. But this just shows you the different roles a relationship can take when you talk about the bond of brothers. I know how valuable vacation time is when you work for a living. That is why I am amazed that my brother takes about two weeks of his vacation time to come and just hang out with me. I call him Mr. fix-it when he is here because anything that is not working properly or needs attention is taken care of by my brother. It has also allowed him to have a closer bond with my kids who are always excited when Uncle John is here to visit. Let’s just say his visits are always welcome. I am proud to call many of my friends my brother and they help me in my daily battles. But I only have one brother by blood and that bond has gotten closer and better with time. So when I see my sons fighting or bickering I realize it is just a moment in time. As Dan leaves for college I know his siblings will miss him as much as he will miss them (even if he will not admit it). This is about family and the bonds that not only keep us together, but encourage us to fight for one another when a struggle arises. It is also the bond that allows us to support and rejoice in each other’s successes. I have always competed with my brother in sports etc. and always wanted to beat him, and that hasn’t changed. In fact, that is one of the things I love about our relationship. So if you’re having a tough battle one day, I hope you can turn to your bond of brothers to get you through the moment like I can. And if you haven’t seen the Band of Brothers, take the time to see what real heroes did for us and our country. I am always amazed when I think many of these heroes were about the same age as my 18-year-old son.