I checked Facebook this afternoon, wondering how a few friends were doing. One of them posted a reminder about Veterans’ Day and added an appreciative comment about Veterans.
Guilt twinged through me. This is a really important day and the only thing I had thought thus far was “why can’t Dave actually be home today — a holiday?” and “Mom, you work at a bank. I thought you’d be off today.”
Dad is a veteran of the Vietnam war. Right? I don’t even know for sure if this is an accurate statement. That’s how little I know. I hated history and never paid attention when we talked wars — who won, who lost, why we fought, when the war took place. These studies and discussions bored me to tears.
And shame on me. My ignorance.
Sure, I get ramped up when I hear about homeless veterans or veterans who can’t get the medical care they need or who are struggling in some way. “How the hell does the government and society get off treating these men like that?”
I don’t cope well with other’s suffering. I want it fixed.
Other than that, I’m afraid I don’t do much to honor veterans. I’ve never said thank you to one. I’ve never offered to help a woman who is juggling children while her husband is deployed.
I don’t think I’ve paid enough attention, ever, to a veteran’s experience. It’s never been waved right in my face, I never sought it out.
Today, though, I start by saying thank you, Dad. I don’t know what you went through…. When you were there…. How long you were there…. What your thoughts were of being there…..Where in the world you even were.
Were you scared? Bored? Beside yourself to get home? What did gramma say? And grampa? Speaking of grampa, was he a veteran? Did your brother and sisters reach out to you? Were you lonely? Did you make friends with fellow deploy-ees? Do you ever feel fellow Americans are thankless for veterans’ work? Do you prefer not to talk of the experience or do curious questions offer you a positive moment to share a part of your life?
It’s Veterans’ Day today, and I thank you. And on this day after you – with somewhat opposing political views – told me to “keep writing, even if it makes others mad, just keep writing because this is who I taught you to be” apologize for never having done so before.