I can’t sleep after a busy Veteran’s Day. I had the grand idea today to use my veteran’s Home Depot discount to buy paint for our master bedroom. Twelve hours later, I succeeded in painting the room with only a few splotches on the carpet courtesy of the 4-year old. Painting most of the day gave me a lot of time to think about my first veteran’s day out of the active Army. I couldn’t help but ponder sacrifices. My grandfathers’ sacrifices. One left the farm and high school to discover sea sickness on a naval ship. The other left his new bride for a year to fight in World War II in the South Pacific.
Veteran’s Day is my parent’s anniversary. They celebrated their 31st with a phone call as my dad is currently in Iraq on his second deployment. My dad enlisted in the Army 28 years ago, answering his call to serve as a 29-year-old father of two. My mom’s held down the home front, their business, and the farm, for every drill and deployment, usually without breaking a sweat. You can’t celebrate veterans without acknowledging the sacrifices of their families.
I thought today of the soldiers I’ve been privileged to serve along side. I used to make my them fill out a 3×5 card, a “get-to-know-you” card, just for me. Besides the usual, name, rank, family information, I asked them to tell me why they joined the military. I pulled out a few of the cards today. They were dated October 2002.
I joined the Army…
because my Mom wanted one of her sons in the military.
to do something with my life.
because I hated Minnesota.
to provide for my daughter.
to get out of my house.
A few months after writing these cards, I deployed with these soldiers. I’m still amazed at how collected they seemed when we crossed into Iraq for the first time, many of them still in their teens.
I had a happy Veteran’s Day. Happy that I’ve survived two deployments. Happy that I left active duty to provide for my family at home. Happy that my little Bubba told me today he can’t wait till he’s bigger and drives a car and plays in the Army. I guess I should go to bed, but not without thanking all of the soldiers that are away from their families tonight. Happy Veteran’s Day to you! I eagerly await your safe return home and thank you for your sacrifice. I pray for you every day… even the day after Veteran’s Day.
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