While Veterans Day is the day we set aside to honor those who serve our country, it’s important to remember that we should think of them and their sacrifices for us, more often than that.
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think of my own father, who served in the Army during WWII. He came close to shipping out for overseas duty. By the grace of God, he never made it. I ponder that fact. What if he had gone to combat and been killed? I would never have been born.
My son also served in the Army in the 80′s. He arrived in Germany just days before the Chernobyl accident, which caused radiation to waft over Germany for sometime after. I worry about the long-term health consequences. He’s already noted the short-term memory loss that affects his life in many ways. If I had a nickel for every driver’s license he’s misplaced, I could treat myself to an upscale dinner.
Today I remember my high-school days, when so many of my classmates were drafted. I met a young marine, destined to do two tours of duty in Vietnam. (He had been an Army brat, with his own father serving in Korea). A nineteen-year marriage ensued and gave us two wonderful children. It also brought heartache, struggle and the despair of fighting an unknown enemy; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, before it had a name. Though that marriage ended in 1987, deep scars remain.
My husband of today is also an Army vet. He served during the Korean conflict. By luck, he never had to go through combat. But many of his friends and military school-mates gave their lives for our country there on that cold, cruel battlefield. All these years later, he still feels guilt for not going.
My life, as that of so many others, has been defined and affected by war. Every generation faces it. So today I am reflecting on all that means to those I have loved, and I’m thinking of and praying for, today’s soldiers and their families.
Thank you all for what you’ve given and continue to give for our American ideals. I wish you peace, acceptance, wisdom and serenity.