Saturday, November 11, 2006
Thank you Veterans!
And if you still want to do more, when you're at breakfast, lunch or dinner this weekend, make sure to stop by and say hi and thank you to the man sitting a few tables over and wearing the hat of his former ship or medals over his civilian clothes. Or stop the guy on the street or in the CVS and just let him know you remember his service and appreciate it.
Of if you see a guy in his marine jacket or his Navy cap standing behind you in Starbucks, pick up the cost of his coffee for him. He spent time serving thiscountry, the least we can do is buy him a Starbucks.
Now, I can't do a Veterans Day post without sending out a few specific thank yous to some of the veterans in my life:
My grandfather was a purple heart veteran who was shot while serving in the Pacific. While I never understood him and rarely got along with him, I can't help but say a silent thank you to heaven with the hope he hears it.
Doc Baldwin, an older gentleman from church, more or less adopted my brother and me when we attended new member meetings together. He was an army medic in World War II and had decided to write his memoir so that members of my generation would better understand his generations' sacrifices. I loved listening to him talk about the war and his experiences and what it means to be a veteran. He would inquire about my days at school, my dreams of helping others, and encourage me to shoot for the stars. He was also a prolific traveller and loved that I was heading to Japan, as did his wife, who I think regretted the fact that such options were widely available to young women in her day. Doc died a few years back while spending the winter in Florida. I didn't get to attend his funeral, but every now and then I feel his spirit inside me. I recall something he said or did or just the way he treated my brother and me. Thanks Doc. I miss you.
Reco. He's a veteran now and yet he's still serving. He's served three times in Iraq. He's back for a fourth tour right now. His care package is currently sitting in my bedroom, packed with candies and razors and a magazine or two. It makes me sad just to look at it. But, I know he's doing something he is proud of and I'm proud of him, too. Thank you Reco for serving us still.
And Jay. How could I not think of Jay, who left to serve in Iraq not so long after we broke up. Two tours later, he's home for now. And today I thank him again for serving us.
And now, for the one I can't do without crying. Baby Sis. I don't know how it came to be that she's old enough to be a veteran. In my mind, she's still my Baby Sis. The one whose clothes I steal after she's stolen mine. The one who takes an hour to get ready before going out to the bar. The one I was so used to protecting (when I wasn't the one picking on her) that I can't believe she's in charge of protecting us. But after her last six-month deployment, she was invited to join the VFW. And now she's someone in the Gulf, a veteran still serving.
Baby Sis, I love you. I miss you. I'm proud of you. And today I honor you. Thank you Baby Sis for serving us. Now keep yourself safe. And no more of that crazy stuff you sent me pictures of.