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The entire reason for this post is to say, “THANK YOU!” to all of those who served or are now serving in the military. Today is Veterans’ Day. We should all remember to say thanks every day. It is your sacrifice of time serving our country, away from your families, in war and peace time, that keeps us free.
It really hit home just this morning. I said thank you to a coworker who was in the Marines. He told me that he felt funny about accepting thanks because he never saw combat. He felt as though he didn’t deserve the same appreciation as those who are overseas in combat now or who had been involved in past wars/conflicts. (To me, Korea and Viet Nam were wars. Yes, they are called “conflicts” in politically correct lingo, but friends, brothers/sisters, fathers/mothers, and aunts/uncles died in service to us and our country. That is war.)
On a personal level, I have a brother who served during the first Gulf War. He spent one career in the Army. He’d gone through college in ROTC and graduated as a Second Lieutenant. He got to live his dream to fly helicopters. (Well, to be truthful, he’d wanted to be a jet jockey but eyesight and a bad knee from sports kept him out of the jets.) He served for more than 20 years. He is now a civilian contractor with the Army, so still is in the business of keeping us safe and free.
My father-in-law is a veteran of D-Day. He went ashore on Utah Beach, fought the Battle of the Bulge, was in the Ardennes, and built bridges across the Rhine. He still doesn’t talk about the combat. He will tell stories of the lighter moments (which, surprisingly, there were). Some of the stories – including the dangers of “trench foot” are hard to imagine. To him, these were lighter moments. I guess we’ll never hear about much of it as it’s far too painful for him to remember or discuss.
My Daddy served in the 1950s. He was supposed to go to Korea, but an injury to his ears kept him stateside. Basically, he saw two young soldiers in the wrong place. They were in a field down in front of the artillery pieces that were getting ready to be fired. Daddy knew that the concussion from the barrage could kill these two, so he ran out and dove onto them just as the firing started. No one died. My dad, however, was left with a permanent ringing in his ears. No combat for him. He, too, was an individual who felt a little “odd” about being thanked on Veterans’ Day. He felt that, since he never saw combat, his service was somehow less worthy of appreciation.
BUNK! He served. He taught young men how to fight and, who knows, his training may have saved some lives. I know his actions at Ft. Knox saved two.
Anyone who puts on the uniform of any of the armed forces is deserving of our thanks and our honor. It doesn’t matter what time frame they served. During war or peace, they chose (or were chosen) to serve. Any of them would have done their duty should there be a call to combat. They all, man or woman, gave up their time – much of it away from family and friends – to take up the charge of protecting us and our freedoms. To them, we owe such a large debt that saying thank you only scratches the surface.
So veterans, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! In my heart, every day is Veterans’ Day!