Veteran’s Day

I can remember school assemblies when I was in grade school about Veteran’s Day. They were really special because every year we were able to see the same veterans and they told us intriguing stories about their experiences. One of the veterans that came to speak to us year after year was a very old gentleman that was a veteran of WWI. I can distinctively remember the gleam in his eye and the way he whistled, snapped his feet and fingers as he came to attention. To a kid of eight years of age he seemed really cool and very “with it” for an octogenarian. Sadly, he died shortly before Veteran’s Day when I was in the fifth grade. That year we got to hear the real story behind his service during WWI. With tears in his eyes and breaks in his voice, the post commander told us of the old vet’s experience in the Argonne Forest in 1918. I do not remember all of the detail of the stories he told us that day, but I do remember watching a grown man in uniform cry before an entire school of children. After that Veteran’s Day I think I was better able to relate to sense of loss that many Americans deal with every day because of either their service to the country or someone close to them sacrificed their life serving this great country of ours. I had an uncle that I never met who died in the Korean War. The family had a hard time dealing with the loss of their brother. His loss created a wound that left a large visible scar. He and another brother, Bill, were both in Korea when Bob was killed in action. My Uncle Bill escorted Bob’s coffin home from Korea. As a non veteran, I have no way of knowing the true sacrifice made by those who have served this country both in wartime and in peace. I do know this; I am thankful and know that there is no way for me to individually pay back all those I owe a debt of gratitude to. I am determined to “pay forward” and try my best to do all I can to honor today’s veterans as well as do what I can to make America a better place. I implore our students to talk to their families about their history of serving this nation in the armed forces. You may find out things you never knew about your family and make connections that were never there before. You will also get a chance to say thank you!

5 thoughts on “Veteran’s Day

  1. Even as a veteran myself, I am amazed at the stories I hear from older generations about the hardships they faced in their particular conflicts. There is something very special about the bonds that form between soldiers, sailors, and marines who serve together. I have lost two friends in our current battles, and the sight of soldiers mourning the loss of a brother is probably the most poignant thing I have ever witnessed. When I reflect back on those experiences- seeing my friends in their dress uniforms, ribbons and medals earned in battle gleaming on their chests, crying without a care for their macho image, bagpipes playing amazing grace, goose bumps at the sound of Taps and a 21-gun salute- I still feel the loss. I think that far too often we get too caught up in the politics and the bickering behind the war and forget, or take for granted, the lives that are irreversibly changed.

  2. You have both hit right on the mark. This day is to honor those who did make it back and to let them know their service is appreciated. It is also a good time to reflect on the freedom their sacrifice bought for us and to resolve that we protect it like the treasure that it is.

  3. Yesterday I watched the procession of the Soldier from Terre Haute that was killed in Afghanistan on the computer from a live feed. It was so moving. Sgt. Griffin's family gave permission to the media to release pictures of his return to Dover. His parent's said they are encouraging the media coverage because they would like to put a face to the conflict in Afghanistan. His mother told President Obama that they needed more troops, because according to her son, there were not enough to do what they were there to do safely. He unfortunately was a casualty of that.

    Sgt. Griffin's Flag draped casket will lead the Veteran's Day Parade in Terre Haute tomorrow at 10 a.m. I am taking my children in hopes that they may learn at a young age the respect our service men and women deserve. I have explained it to the extent that you can to a 4 and 5 year old, but it is a lesson that I feel we need to instill early.

    I did not know this man, had met his parents in passing at a friend's wedding. I just feel the need to do something. I called around and have made arrangements to take food tomorrow for the peace meal after the funeral. It is not much, but if we all do the little things we can do. Part of me feels guilty that I am doing this just to make myself feel better. But I guess we should feel good when we show goodwill towards fellow man.

  4. As a Vietnam Veteran and a high school administrator I want to thank you for your blog entry. I sincerely appreciate your comments.

  5. Veteran's Day will always remind me of my dad and his incredible courage. He lived with pain his entire life after fighting for his country when he was 19, and he never complained. He'll always be my #1 hero.

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