Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What Veteran's Day Means to Me

As I sat down this morning to work on my never ending college homework - I knew my heart was not in it this morning.

I kept thinking about how special today is to me - yes this is "just" Veteran's Day to some, but to me it makes my heart flutter.

My Dad during active duty! 
My Dad is an Army Veteran, unlike many of my friends, I was not around when my dad was active duty - so I am not the Army Brat.  I never knew the feeling of my dad leaving and not knowing when he would return - sometimes I would feel "guilt" because I did watch families mourn and miss the loss of their military man.

When I was about 16 years old, I realized that even though I was not an "Army Brat" the years my dad served were very  important - it was then that he became that Veteran that I cherish and love.

Now 16 years later Veterans Day is one of my favorite holidays.  Not just because I get a day off from work, but it is a day for me to reflect and think about those Army stories that my dad would share over the dinner table when I was just a child.

If you know my dad, you know he is a world class story teller, he can capture your attention in a matter of seconds and hold you until the very last word - not to mention he has a great voice.

When I was small(er) dinner time was important at our house, something major had to happen for one person not be around the dinner table - Dad was insistent on this.

Around that kitchen table was where I learned of my Dad's military background - while he often jokes that he just guarded a trash can and a light pole - there was more to the story.

Photo Credit:  Donna Shell 
He would reminiscence of those long nights away from Bollinger County - he defeated the biggest battle, the battle of being jerked away from his family and shipped to a foreign land just months after he graduated high school - my dad like many others his age was drafted, and drafted at one of the scariest times we have ever faced.

He would bark commands in German - words he had learned while he was stationed in Germany.    I have also seen a few pictures of Germany, but he never would answer where those pictures
where taken.....I would say there is more to the story.  :-)

In recent years, I learned that my dad went through Basic Training with several Bollinger County Men - he refers to them as the "Big Five" - he admitted to me the anxiety he felt in training when someone he knew would have to go - he was always afraid that one of his buddies would not make it.

Somewhere in the middle of that my Dad became one of my Hero's - it is an honor to say my dad is a Veteran.

Today I find great honor in watching him and his local VFW buddies perform Graveside Services, be present at local events, and listen to them laugh over their days in service - they have great fun with it.

Rather your Veteran fought the greatest battle or just guarded a trash can - they served, they worked, and they protected us!   Honor our Veterans, hold them close to us, and remember who they are!

God Bless our Veterans, God Bless our Military, God Bless the USA! 

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