Thanks to my mother, our family learned early to honor those that serve. We attended Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day parades in our town...
some years we sat and cheered from the curbs as we waved our American flags, while in other years we participated as Girl Scouts, pep squad members, cheerleaders. After the Vietnam War, honoring our service people was not particularly celebrated and, in many towns, the parades were discontinued because no one came to cheer the Veterans.
When we had children of our own, we took them to the parades... we cheered the vets, we saluted the flag. We waved at ships arriving home with fathers and sons on deck and mothers and wives smiling and crying on the pier.
We attended many wreath laying ceremonies at our war memorial on the grounds of our county court house in New York and cheered from the court house lawn on Main Street (really) as the Veterans' paraded by. The large court house square, the large military community and the community's patriotism were key factors in our choice of the town we now live in. Paying homage to those that serve is the least we can do... a few minutes from a whole day set aside to honor our Veterans.
I sometimes think that even without the influence of DH's career (he had finished his 25 years and started his second career by the time the oldest was entering high school), our patriotism and our respect for our service members might have influenced our three sons' choices to serve in the military. We could not be any prouder of them.
This year we will be at the closest Veterans Hospital where our town, and the surrounding communities come to honor our Veterans... this year there are eight Grand Marshals... all Veterans wounded in the service of their country.
So on Veteran's Day, we each have the opportunity -- the obligation -- to thank all the Soldiers, the Marines, the Sailors, the Airmen, and the members of the Coast Guard who have served and are serving to protect us -- whether they fought or just stood on the Wall.
To all those who raised their hand, swore the oath and said, "This we'll defend", from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.And don't forget, Veterans: WEAR YOUR MEDALS ON VETERANS DAY. (Info on that HERE)
and remember, HIRE A WOUNDED VETERAN when you have the need or the chance...
The Annual Inter-Military Branch Campaign for Project Valour-IT -- which gives laptop computers to wounded military members (including voice-activated software to those that need it) IS ON!! Go HERE for more information on this incredible program. This year in honor of the three Navy guys I love (two veterans and one still serving), I am raising money as part of the NAVY team! Click below to donate NOW! The campaign runs through Thanksgiving!
It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
-- Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC
Labels: Freedom, patriotism, The Fallen, VA, Veterans, wounded warriors