Today is Veterans’ Day. I was always raised to respect the military. When I was little and the Vietnam vets were being spit on when they came home, my mother, who was against the war, was outraged. She taught us that all veterans deserve our respect and thanks, even if we don’t agree with the war in which they served.
I remember seeing the stars in the windows walking home from school. My mother explained what the blue and gold stars meant. Blue for active service and gold for a fallen veteran. I was only about 5 or 6 then. Protests against the war were all over the news. My parents were on different sides as to whether we should be in Vietnam or not. One thing they did have in common was their strong belief that everyone should have respect for those who served.
My son is now a veteran. He served in the Iraqi war. I was not thrilled when he went into the Navy. I was proud of him, but scared, even though the US was not at war. The day of my son’s pass in revue or his end to boot camp was the day of the USS Cole bombing. We watched the news of the blast from his base near Chicago. How could this happen? My baby goes in the navy and his first day out of training there is a bombing of a US ship??
Then came September 11th. My son was still in special training and would not be sent over in Shock and Awe. I was glad. He wanted to go, all the men in his class wanted to go. They finished their training and were in Iraq before I could adjust to the idea. I was afraid the whole time he was there. He kept assuring me he was safe since he was in the navy, but he was THERE.
He doesn’t talk much about what he did in that war. I think a lot of veterans are like that. They may have had to take lives, bomb a city or any other god awful thing. They did what they had to do.
I didn’t agree with the war in Iraq. I still don’t. I do, however give honor and thanks to all those who severed and are serving. It takes courage to do what others can’t or won’t.
I am glad my son came home safe and sound. I know not everyone did. Today on Veterans day, I think of all the veterans of all US wars who have served. I am glad I was taught to respect and honor veterans no matter where they served. I think they deserve better than they sometimes get when coming home.
To all veterans, and especially my son, thank you for all you have done and continue to do.