Because a veteran has seen the things he has seen, my visions are possible. Because a veteran has done the things she has done, my to-do lists are filled with things that can be freely done. Because veterans have given their lives, I can have my life. Because veterans have fought, I am free to spread peace. Thank you. That's hardly enough, but I'm not sure you could ever be repaid enough.
My father-in-law, a man I never met, served in the Army just after WWII. He brought home another Angie from Germany and started a family. My paternal grandfather, another man I never met, joined the service during WWI. My uncles, four of them, did their stints in the military during Vietnam-- a Duncan who spent his Army gig in the U.S., a Duncan who re-upped with the Marines at least once, and two Greers in the Army. In the Garren family, my husband's brother is a chaplain in the Air Force, a man whose daughter served, a man whose two sons-in-law served/serve.
So, I've known veterans, but that's about the extent of my military knowledge. When recruited by the ROTC guys at Murray State, I gave a non-interested kid's flippant response. I didn't like green, and I didn't want anyone telling me where to live. Yeah... that wasn't my best moment, but I had no clue at the time. Thank goodness there were other people who did understand and did take on the responsibility!
Today, we went to the Veterans Day Parade in Germantown, a town just a few miles down the road from here. It was awesome, and by "awesome," I mean smack your forehead and say Duh AWESOME. The younger military people deserve much thanks, but it was the faces of the older veterans that really drove the point home to me. The saying goes that all gave some and some gave all. After some reflection, I'm convinced that All gave All. It doesn't matter how they got into the uniform (happenstance, circumstance, or Uncle Sam grabbed them by the seat of the pants), once in uniform, they gave every second of their life to their country. Oh, sure, they had leaves and furloughs, but they were still on Liberty's clock. Wives and girlfriends waited. Children grew taller and taller each month. Parents grew older. No one gets to turn back time, but it seems to me those guys should've gotten the chance in exchange for what they did. Then, when their time in the service was finished, the "lucky" ones who came home on their own two feet and not in a casket were given the privilege of picking up where they'd left off as if nothing had happened. For the most part, I think that's what they did, too. For the most part, they didn't complain about it, either. AWESOME. Yes, that's the word: