I remember the day in college when I realized that veterans were now people my age, or even younger.
I remember, after college, when I began to realize that veterans weren’t just people my age, but people I knew. I had always known my late grandfather served in the Air Force in World War II and four of my uncles followed him into that service, but I discovered that two of my uncles also served in Vietnam. I found that veterans weren’t just generic “people,” but my friends’ brothers and people I’d gone to high school with and my cousins.
Still later, I temped for a while at an elder care facility, and came in on my day off to help with the Veteran’s Day commemoration there, where I was honored to help wheel some of our veteran residents outside for a three-volley salute. One of them gave me the cloth poppy I still have five years later (though I was distressed to realize I’d forgotten to wear it today until it was far too late to go back for it.)
I know war is complicated – and that’s an understatement, if anything – and so is what happens to people as a result of it. I know people can, and do, serve honorably without going into combat, whether because of the time when they served or their position. I know that how our country responds to veterans has changed over the years, and is still changing now, for better or for worse.
So I’m not going into all of that. I just want to say, to those veterans I know personally and to any others who may read this post: Thank you for your service. And I know a “thank you” doesn’t cover the half of it, but it’s what I have. Thank you.
If there is any way I can help, if you ever need a listening ear, please let me know.