As many of you know, veterans and all things military are very close to my heart. My Dad was a Marine and a Korean War veteran and he is the man I admire most in the world. I am a lucky grown woman to be able to say that! He never really talked about his service as we grew up. It was by osmosis that we picked up traits of respect for the flag, others and so on. I have many friends and family members who have served our fine country or are doing so now. And I know that they do it with dignity and sacrifice. And they never talk about the hardships. The emphasis is always on the pride of being able to serve. Can you imagine such selflessness? I have a deep respect and admiration for all those who have served or are serving our country.
Last year my daughter was invited to speak at the Korean War Memorial in my hometown and honor all veterans with a speech written by retired Army Col. Mary Quinn. Eva was so nervous. But once she got to the microphone, it was in a beautiful, clear voice that she spoke. I had chills and such a pain in my adam’s apple (yes, we all have one) from holding back my tears that I thought my throat or my thyroid would burst. I am not kidding. It hurt that badly. Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t just cry. I felt I was in the presence of all these soldiers who had held it together during adversity and my crying at a speech would be a sign of weakness? I don’t know. I looked from my daughter to my Dad to all the fine men and women in uniform and it was one of those moments in my life that I will cherish forever.
I think we all (myself included) should do more than attend Veteran’s Day parades and services. We should volunteer at a VA clinic. At least once in a while. Donate your time or money to any one of the fine programs that support our troops or their families. Send a Christmas card to a soldier. Salute the flag. Say the Pledge of Allegiance loudly and proudly. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the politics of war, show the troops that you honor and respect them. Help a family member of an active duty military person. Salute a veteran. It is the right thing to do. On Veteran’s Day. And every day. God Bless America!