Monday, November 12, 2012

My Veteran's Day Tribute

 We all know someone who is a Veteran, whether they are a proud one, or a humble one.  My Grandpa, Grandfather Dannie, Great Uncles, and my dear cousin Adam, they are humble Veterans.  It was something they did, to help others, to keep our own country safe, or to protect freedoms that most take for granted. Thousands of miles from home, not sure what the job is at hand, whether they fought in trenches, fought out in the middle of an ocean, the jungle, or desert... They had a job to do, and they did it.  Whether they agreed or not.. Sometimes, they would disagree quietly, or within their unit.. Rarely did it ever make it home.. Letters home were always positive, and how much one misses another and to hear stories about home, and school... not of the firing of guns or rockets off in the distance....

My Grandpa served during WWII in Italy and France, he never talked about it, never spoke of the bonds he made, the things he saw, or did... .  Grandma told me several times, to not ask about it... and to this day I still don't truly know but, I do this with my own cousin, I tell family who may not know, not to ask him about it.  Maybe to protect him from reliving painful memories.  One thing Grandpa did bring back, was a little French nursery rhyme... and I still remember the words, and I wondered, did he learn that song over there, because he saw children that needed comforting?  And was it something he used to help gain their trust?  I know that he was an MP.  In the picture below, his hat is offset, this is how I remember him, but instead of a military hat, it was a cowboy hat... even as I type this, the tears come... yes, i miss him, somewhat more now than I did when i was younger.  The things that have happened to our country, he would be so pissed and ashamed of how young people see things, looking for a handout... get off your ass if you want something would be his advice.  I have another picture of him, he's 16 years old, serving with the C.C.C. he lied about his age, and went to work to help his family in South Dakota, building one of the roads in the Badlands.  At this time, it was in the late 30's, into the early 40's and then, just shy of his 19th birthday, the Military Drafted him.  And then, so many thousands were drafted along with him.  Many would not return, and they are honored on Memorial Day..

They are our heroes, some still living, and some not, but regardless, they do deserve heartfelt thanks.  And to think one in 4 homeless people are Veterans.  That is so terribly sad, I understand that for some it is a choice they made years ago.... but we as the People, have we some how failed them?

I do my very best to visit the cemeteries on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day... visit with my Grandpa and just take in the things he had taught me, shared with me in my short time with him.  I think about him every day... not mournful, but missing, and in hopes that the great wisdom he gave to me, still holds a bit of magic... For In times of strife, I look to his simple words, and reflect on them.

My cousin Adam served in a war that to this day still doesnt make sense to most.. and probably never will.  He joined when he was just 16, and each summer he would do his Basic and Advanced Trainings and all his weekend warrior stuff.  Then 9/11 happened, and he was nearing his enlistment date, but was delivered a letter saying his unit would be put at a stop-loss, a new term to me,.... so hard to imagine, to be done with your duty and to be told you have to wait, because they might need you later.  He left for the Middle East, and when he came home, I will never forget the day we went to the demobilization ceremony a chilly day in 2004, but bright sunshine... the Governor of Oregon was there, and that was precious, so many units coming back and he was with this one.  I remember walking into the ceremony, I was excited, I hadnt seen my cousin in almost 4 years, and as close as we were before he left, i was really looking forward to seeing him.  And out of the corner of my eye, I see a solider making his way down the aisle of crowded seats, and I turned, and there he was.  Huge Hug, and there were some tears, I was just so happy to have him home.  Grandma faithfully reminded us, that we had never lost anyone in any war, since she began doing genealogy and had records from the Revolutionary war... we are a lucky family.. but some times journeys take them places, dark places, and i wont write where his journey took him, but it is 2012, and though these memories are several years old, he is now safe, home, and happy... The things he learned in his time of service, helped save his life, and the lives of his buddies...

Thank you all for your service and devotion to our country... politics aside, we are a grateful nation!!! 

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