Veterans Day, 2021

Today is a day for our very special Veterans. All that we enjoy today is because of them and their sacrifices. The freedoms we enjoy are not seen in any other country. We are safer with them at the ready. They don’t think twice about it. Love of their country and freedom are what keep them at their posts. All six branches of the services combined create the well oiled machine that is the Military of the United States of America. Old Veterans would marvel at drone technology used today. I know my dad would. He’d want to work the darned things!

I’ve mentioned before the three photos my Grandma Jewell had in her living room. Each in a corner, either black and white or sepia finished, her three sons in their military uniforms. All handsome, young, trained, and ready to go. The patriotism the men of this era had is recounted in old war movies, songs, and the general mood of the times. Folks at home planted gardens to ease the burden of the grocery system at the time, so the troops would have what they needed. Mom recounted the shortages on toilet paper, soap, and other items like sugar. Everyone did their part. Could we do that now? I would hope, but many folks wouldn’t.

The message I took away from seeing those photographs subliminally at every visit sits deep in the fabric that is me. I cannot imagine life without that early exposure to the Patriots around me. All the men in our neighborhood and family served in the military. Of my three brothers, one was 4F, one not the right age during the draft, and one went to the reserves, at the time, the 915 Transportation Unit from Council Bluffs, Iowa. He would have gladly gone if called up.

My husband Dan served in Vietnam, many years before we met. It left him a haunted soul, like many of the young men who served there. My dad, after serving in WWII and Korea, told me once, “A jungle war is so different than a war fought in cities and towns. The mindset of the enemy is very different, too. The bottom line is, the enemy wants to kill you in whatever barbaric way they can.” He should know; he was in combat as a medic “aide.” They were on the battlefield, did not have weapons, and running to assess and aid the wounded. He was a surgical tech in the MASH tents of Korea. He saw the damages. And he was awarded two bronze stars. My dad, gentleman, loving father and grandfather, and quintessential bad ass. He was a quiet man, just went about his business, never wanting any attention. Many of our Veterans are the same way.

After having these experiences, it’s no wonder our troops have difficulty merging back into life at home. They are not the same as when they left. We need to find ways to help them adjust, and we need to adjust, too. Nothing is the same once they return home.

Recognizing that, we have an Art exhibit by Liz Boutin, and an information fair at the VFW Post 2503 today. The Post opens at noon, and we have lots of tables for you to visit with various agencies and groups for the Veterans. Guitars for Vets, Moving Veterans Forward, 22 Veteran Suicide Awareness Association from Council Bluffs, grief materials from Centering Corporation in Omaha, and some vendors. Come, have a great spaghetti meal between 4 – 7 p.m. and attend our Ceremony at 6 p.m. Corporal Daegan Page’s family will receive a special gift that was sent to us by a gentleman in Texas. I will share it with you tomorrow. It’s breath-taking.

Let us honor our keepers of freedom. Let us remember their sacrifices. We can never thank them enough.

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