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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Our Veterans' Stories, Our Span of Wars
I was born between wars. I celebrated my eighteenth birthday in February 1972. The timing was such that the draft was abolished and I missed the military and the Vietnam War by weeks. My mother was pleased; my brother spent a year in Vietnam during 1969 and 1970 and she had enough. She insisted her second son not go to war.
My brother survived, he came home with a heavy heart, but he survived. Later he flew –med-evac helicopters in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. My mother did not like it, but she kept her mouth shut. My dad spent the last part of World War II in Japan, but that was before he met my mother. Since I have never been to war I cannot say how difficult it must be. I know it must be almost overwhelming. However, I do know from very personal experience how hard it is to be the one to not go. To be like my poor mother, home waiting, wondering and praying.
My son was a Green Beret; he did two tours in Iraq. Because he was in Special Forces he had access to satellite phones and computers, overall his ability to communicate with me was extraordinary. Still, the only peace I had during that total of seven months was in those telephone or Skype conversations. The rest of the time I held my breath. Like my mother I waited and prayed, all white knuckled.
If you have done the math you see that my immediate family has deployed a total of six times. Maybe it does not seem like a lot to the casual observer, but for me, the guy waiting at home, it was six eternities and a history lesson.
We celebrated Memorial Day this week. Many did so at the end of a ski rope or a barbeque fork, but there are still too many U.S. soldiers deployed around the world continuously paying our price for freedom. They may have celebrated, but they did so with one eye on the horizon and the other on the trigger.
I salute those brave men and women who have served and protect us still. I bow before those at home who wait and support our soldiers and their service. Memorial Day is a time for us to remember the high cost of liberty and democracy. Whether we are at home or deployed, in our hearts and minds we all pay a price.
Make an effort to thank every veteran you meet, hear their stories, and remember what you are told because it is our history, our history of peace.
Your comments and questions are always welcome.
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