Honoring All Who Served….

Today is the Birthday { 236 years} of the United States Marine Corps! Semper Fi, y’all. :O)

Tomorrow is Veterans Day.

I live in a VERY military-infused part of our great nation, but my appreciation for those who serve our nation in her armed forces started when I was a wee lass. I come from a long line of military veterans. Both my grandfathers served in World War 1 while an uncle, my ” Best Dude” & my father served in Vietnam.

Since moving to Northwest Florida & being blessed with military families as parishioners, I’ve learned so much more about what these brave men & women do to keep this country safe.  I’ve known families whose active-duty loved one had two or three tours in the Middle East while stationed at the nearby Air Force base. I’ve babysat for families where one parent ” holds the home front” while their active-duty spouse is away & this made me even more grateful for what the veterans of wars past gave up for our nation.

Dad never did & still won’t talk much about his time in the Army.  All I know is that he served for approximately 18 months until he was injured in the line of duty in the jungles of Vietnam. Since Dad doesn’t discuss much of his military history & the nearest military base was Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, my brother & I did not grow up with much experience with military life & culture.

That all changed when I moved to Northwest Florida in December of 1998.  Yours truly, a little Yankee gal with no clue about military culture, suddenly found herself surrounded by active-duty & retired service people.  At first, it was really hard for me to accept that my civilian status will never earn membership into their subculture .  I had to learn their ” language” & at first it was a * steep learning curve* for me.  Now, almost 13 years later, my appreciation for what our country’s military families endure for the sake of our freedom has increased a hundredfold.

Sometimes I fear that the Vietnam War veterans, the war in which both Best Dude & Dad served, are sometimes pushed aside when we remember & celebrate our veterans of other wars. I understand that Vietnam was not a popular war with Many Americans who remember it  & I totally understand the idea of unpopular foreign wars.  But I also understand that when our veterans returned stateside from that conflict, they were NOT { in many instances} regarded as the heroes they were & still are.

For example: I think that the ” Honor Flight” program, where WW2 veterans get to take a free trip to the War Memorial in Washington, DC is awesome. What I would LOVE is to see done for our Vietnam veterans is something similar to this Honor Flight program.

I’ve been to the Vietnam Wall during my last trip to Washington, DC & I felt what my priest would call a ‘thin place’ there.  My parents & I visited the Wall together when we were in northern Virginia for a wedding weekend, & being there looking at all those names of Americans lost in that war with my Dad is something I will never forget.

It is because of my experience of visiting The Wall with my Dad that I strongly feel that * every*  veteran of this war who so desires to visit should have a way to do so.

This evening I want to salute ALL veterans of all foreign wars.

May God bless you & keep you.

 

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