I had been picked up and dropped off at airports by my parents so many times over the years I've lost count. One thing was always a constant though. The welling in our eyes upon seeing each other after periods of time, and the sadness of one more good bye. Though never spoken the thought was always with me, "Would there be another time?"
So must be the thoughts of every parent, relative and friend of service people around the world as they go off to and hopefully return from - war.
Perhaps the biggest service Prince Harry did for his country is bring home to so many immune from the emotions just how terribly heart wrenching it is for the families.
Prince Charles, one day he will be King, is first and foremost a father whose son went to war - and came home. "It's an incredible relief to see him back in one piece," he said. "It is obviously marvellous to see him back and I'm enormously proud of what he's done."
Words any father would say. More important, though, is the dose of reality that was brought home by Harry's deployment. "I do so understand what it's like for so many other families and loved ones of those serving on operations, what they have to endure.
"Having met so many of the families when I go to visit some of my regiments, I know what it's like when they're so far away and don't know what's going on. It's much worse in a way for those left behind."
War is horrible. Prince Harry did not have to go. But he did. We all owe both Harry and his Dad a vote of thanks. They have shown that no matter what level of privilege one may enjoy they "get it". They understand the obligation and the emotions that come with it and in a most human manner, acknowledge both.
They are true Princes .