This morning as I headed out with my husband to hang the flags at the Bollinger County Veterans Memorial, I thought about just how precious each of those names etched on the large piece of granite are.
My Dad is an Army Veteran, unlike many of my friends, I was not around when my dad was active duty. I never knew the feeling of my dad leaving and not knowing when he would return.
When I was about 16 years old, I realized that even though I was not what they call an "Army Brat" the years my dad served were very important and it was then that he became that Veteran that I cherish and love.
Now twenty years later Veterans Day is one of my favorite holidays. Not 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 a child 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 joked that he just guarded a trash can and a light pole, there was more to the story.
He would reminiscence of those long nights away from Bollinger County, he defeated the biggest battle, the battle of being jerked away from our small community and his family, shipped to a foreign land just months after he graduated high school. My dad like many others his age was drafted during one of the scariest times we had ever faced, the Vietnam War.
Dad was stationed in Germany, that is where he learned a few German commands that he would often bark at the dinner table to make us laugh. I have also seen a few pictures of him while he was in Germany, he looked much different back then.
In more 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 once admitted to me the anxiety he would feel in training when someone he knew would have to take their turn on the obstacle course, he was always afraid that one of his buddies would not make it, but they always did.
Somewhere in the middle of those stories my Dad became one of my Hero's and it is an honor to say my dad is a Veteran.
Today it makes my heart so full to watch 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 sharing and remembering.
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!
( This is a copy of my column from this weeks The Banner Press, please support our local paper.)