Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you,Veterans!

Today is Veterans Day,the day in which we take time to thank and remember all the sacrifices members of our military have made to keep us free.Whether they have served in combat or not,they are there to make sure our liberties remain in tact.
Some have made the ultimate sacrfice,some have physical permanent wounds,and some have mental pernmanent wounds we cannot see.
Yesterday at Zach's school,they held a Veteran's Assembly,hosted by the 6th grade. Veterans were invited to attend and be honored. Rick and I went,and he wore his uniform (he found one that fit). It was the first time in a long time that he wore one of this uniforms that he wore in Iraq,and he said it made him feel strange,but he wanted to wear it for Zach because he "wanted Zach to be proud" of him. Rick claimed he could still smell "the Iraq" smell in his uniform,though it has been four years and several washings later.
The ceremony was very nice. The Boy Scouts did the opening and closing ceremony ( Zach joined them,even though he is not in the local troop). There were readings of "In Flanders Field",an explanation of the Gettysburg Address ( which Zach took part in ),a joint recitation of the Gettysburg Address by the 6th grade,flag ettiqutette,and a speech by Major Shaw of the Marines (no relation). The most touching part was the recoginition of veterans. They called out the name of the conflict,then had the vets present who had served in that conflict stand up. They started with WWII,and one lone gentleman stood up. Everyone gave him a standing ovation and a long cheer. I got a bit choked up. We do not have many WWII vets left,so they are very precious.They are an amazing generation of Americans. My father also served in WWII,in New Guinea,so I grew up hearing some stories about the war.Sadly,he passed away in 1990.
Next was Korea,and this gentleman also recieved a standing ovation and some cheers. Korea seems to be the forgotton war,overshadowed by WWII and Vietnam. My uncle Bobby( my Dad's brother) served in Korea.
Next came Vietnam. A handful of gentleman stood up,and they recieved an ovation and some cheers as well.It made me think of how terrible it must of been for some of them to come home to hostility. They were not welcomed with open arms like their predessors,and the VA system at the time was really sad. They were tossed to the side and treated like second class citizens. It was pathetic. To me, if it wasn't for Vietnam vets,the VA would not have been improved they way it has been,nor would any benefits the vets are entitled be improved upon. It has been their ongoing fight for decent treatment of veterans that have made things much better for those who are are serving today. I have great respect for Vietnam vets.My brother in law served in Vietnam,and my oldest brother was stationed on the DMZ in Korea during Vietnam.
Then came Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield/Gulf War/Operation Iraqi Freedom. It seemed like every single head turned towards Rick. He stood up,and he too,recieved a standing ovation,which was fairly lengthy,and the kids started cheering and yelling LOUDLY. I stood next to him,clapping and cheering, with a big smile on my face,trying to blink back tears. It was an amazing feeling to have my husband being cheered and recognized in such a manner. This war is to these children what Vietnam was to my generation,though I was in second grade when the war ended in 1975. These kids are 4-6 graders,so they will remember it far better than I remember Vietnam.
My second brother served in Desert Storm.
There was retired Marine Major who spoke, He spoke briefly about his service,and how he went to Grenada,and if he haddn't been sent to Grenada,he would've been at the Embassy in Beriut where a suicide bomber killed 200 Marines.He asked for a brief moment of prayer for all veterans. Now, bear in mind that there were 4-6 grade children there. I expected some whispering or giggling,as kids tend to do. There was nothing but silence. You could've heard a pin drop. No feet shuffing,no coughing,nothing. Total silence. It was wonderful.
After his speech,I looked at the program and noticed that "Taps"was on it. Rick has a very difficult time hearing taps. If it's on TV, he will leave the room. I leaned over and told him that taps was on the program,to give him a heads up. He said he haddn't noticed. I asked him if him was going to be OK,and he said he was.He stood at attention during it,but later admitted that he almost broke down during it.
It was a lovely tribute.
Let us thank all veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice,not just today,but eveyday. Let us also have a special moment of silence for those in Fort Hood.
Thank you,veterans.We are forever indebed to you.

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