Tag Archives: veteran’s day

Thank you

Veteran’s Day makes me think of my father. To say he fought in a war doesn’t really describe his experience. He served his country proudly, and in doing so, endured horrors that visited him from time to time for the rest of his life.

I remember asking him about his time in the service. One story that I’ll never forget was about his time in the Corps of Engineers when he was responsible for making sure his unit had the ammunition they needed to fight. More than once, he had to collect munitions from the dead – men he served with and called friends, so he could supply the ones still fighting.

He stepped over bodies on ground soaked in blood. He was in hostile territory recovering arms and ammo.

I could see the pain in his eyes as he told me this story. In reliving that moment, he gave me a unique insight into war that had never occurred to me before. I’d always thought of war in general terms: people fight, people die, it’s all terrible. But this was specific. His friends fought. His friends died, and it was more than terrible. It was something no one should have to experience. He was in the middle of it, and although he was happy to survive, part of him died that day and never returned when they shipped him home.

He was just a kid of 18 or 20. So very young, but not too young to die.

We see men in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and recognize them as veterans. But that title isn’t limited to old men. Young men and women continue to come home destroyed by things they’ve seen in conflict. They all bear scars. We see the physical ones. Some of those scars are in place of limbs. Some are completely debilitating. We don’t see the mental ones. The soul-crushing ones. The ones tattooed inside their eyelids that visit them when they try to sleep.

We need to turn the spotlight on the real heroes. Not the people in Hollywood. Not the men on the gridiron. Those people get paid to do what they love. The true heroes made a sacrifice, and often many sacrifices, to keep our country free.

From the depths of my heart, thank you to all who served.

Thank You For Keeping Us Free

My dad fought in the Army. At the time, men didn’t have a choice. Everyone was expected to serve. They could sign up, or wait for the draft. Dad served his country with honor, and I’m extremely proud of him for doing so. I know it wasn’t easy. I’ve seen the pain in his eyes from the memories of Korea that haven’t faded a bit in the nearly 60 years since he came home. There’s too much to talk about, and it’s too hard, so it’s easier for him to not say anything. I imagine it’s like that for a lot of our veterans.

In an age when it’s popular to hate our military, for “churches” to demonstrate at the funerals of those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country, I have to wonder why protecting our freedoms is such a bad thing. Why do those people feel it’s a-ok to disrespect the grief of others? Is it really “Christian” to have no compassion for the family who lost someone they dearly loved?

It is ignorant and short-sighted to think that if we get rid of the Armed Forces, life will be good for all.

There will always be war. There will always be someone, somewhere, who wants what he doesn’t have, and is willing to fight to take it away from those who have it. When what they want is huge, they will round up forces that are enormous. If praying or meditating for world peace was all it took, it would already be here. You can’t talk, or meditate, or negotiate peace with someone whose blood thirst drives them to conquer at any cost.

I remember vividly where I was on September 11, 2001. I watched in horror, with the rest of my fellow Americans, as the towers fell. I saw pictures of the Pentagon with a huge hole in its side, and video from the Pennsylvania field where so many brave heroes went to their death, and felt very afraid. How can anyone, 9 years later, say that we shouldn’t fight back? How can anyone think that doing nothing is the best course of action?

Where words fail me, these videos speak volumes:

Darryl Worley – Have you forgotten

Toby Keith – American Soldier

Toby Keith – Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue

This Thursday, after I salute the flag that flies on the front of my house, I’m going to go and buy a poppy from the DAV guy outside the supermarket. When I do, I’m going to shake his hand, and thank him for his service. And, sometime that day, I’m going to stop and think about the ones who didn’t come home, and acknowledge how thankful I am that they were brave enough, or patriotic enough, or whatever enough, to fight for not only my freedom, but also for the ones who hate them for doing so.

And, I’ll call my Dad to thank him, too. Because of his service, and the service of every member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, we continue to live in the Land of the Free.