I’m not a Veteran. My husband was disabled way before he could be considered for the draft, and when the draft board did ask him to report, he dutifully did. And he was given the status that recognized, “Hey, this guy’s in a wheelchair! Don’t think we should draft him to fight.” But, I’ve known guys and yes, women, around my husband’s age, and those my age, and young enough to be our children, who have been in uniform, have served years overseas on a military post, or in battle. My father spent a few months in Korea, and it was just a few years ago that he shared with his kids what he did and some of the people he met along the way. He’s still involved in Veteran’s organizations.
My husband and I visit my mother-in-law in an assistive living place and she dines with a man who loves to regale us with stories of the Nazis that he killed. We know another man who was a bombardier who destroyed cities and towns in Germany. I recently talked to a man whose service consisted of being in an officers training program, and his service consisted of marching in drills, every weekend, when he wasn’t studying for his university exams in Canada. He knows he was lucky. He didn’t get shipped out to a land that wasn’t his own. Yet, that was part of his duty, that and entertaining troops who came home on leave.
Not all veterans tell their stories. Some embellish them, others forget some details, or adopt the details of a buddy’s adventure.
Remembering stories is all well and good. We must remember not to be too stingy with our tax dollar. Push the politicians to spend a little less on foreign aid to countries that don’t really like us, and on missiles that will most likely be decommissioned and destroyed before they even get fired into enemy turf. Let’s help our country keep promises that were made to recruits and volunteers that if they served they, and their families would be taken care of.
And, yes, http://iava.org/ has a very special message that we should remember. Those who had few other options in life other than to be patriotic and volunteer for service in Iraq and Afghanistan need a lot more than our pity these days. Those who bravely believed what government leaders were telling the world, and joined up, well–they were deceived. They were hurt, emotionally, physically, as well as slaughtered just for being American. Some have sharply told me, “And, we were there to help them!” Yes. Thank you for doing what I, in my heart, knew, was fighting a war in a nation that didn’t send hijackers to our nation, and for going after the guys who did, in an awful land where you were never respected. Thank you for staying awake at night, and plugged in and monitoring the communications from, I hope, nefarious people who wish to wipe my country off the face of the earth. Thank you for ignoring silly comments made by citizens, who are frustrated with covert operations on each other. Thank you for not taking those three-day holidays off.