Today, I am Thankful For:
- My grandfather, who got the most miserable tour of Europe by defending our country in World War Two. I really wish that I would have learned more about his experiences while he was still alive.
- My father, who spent a year never sleeping on dry sheets as he served our country in the heat and humidity of Vietnam.
- My father-in-law, who made many trips in and out of Iraq to serve our country in Dessert Storm.
- The hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who risk their lives every day to protect ours. Words can’t adequately convey the gratitude I have for your sacrifices.
- The wives (and husbands) of those who serve our country. I have several friends who fall into this category, and I really respect them for how they accept the regular upheaval as they are transferred from one base to another. I would go crazy never getting to put down roots. The sacrifices of military families is significant, and they deserve our gratitude, too.
When it comes to holidays, Veteran’s Day really isn’t even a blip on the radar. I mean, how many “Happy Veteran’s Day” cards do you see Hallmark making? Heck, when I talked to my dad earlier today, we discussed the fact that he was off for Veteran’s Day, but I didn’t proclaim any holiday wishes to him. Honestly, and I’m a little ashamed of this, I didn’t even say “thank you.” But that is just because it seemed kind of awkward.
The truth is, I am grateful for what my father did. He signed up to serve in a war that wasn’t popular. He stayed in the military when he came back, even though our country wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy towards servicemen and our government wasn’t exactly paying them grandly for the “respect” that they got. He loved our country–he still does–and he served it. On the rare occasion that we can actually get him to talk about Vietnam, it becomes obvious that it really bothers him that our country’s politics prevented us from doing what needed to be done to win in there.
I wasn’t alive during the Vietnam war. I only know the things I have studied. It seems to me, though, that there is a lot in common with what happened then, and what is happening to our troops in Iraq today. A segment of our population have decided that this war isn’t the popular thing to do, and many of our politicians don’t want to do what needs to be done to finish this thing.
I pray for our current and future political leaders. I pray that they will worry less about what is popular, and more about what will work. I pray for the Iraqi people, that they won’t have another Saddam Hussein move in if we pull out.
Forty years later, Vietnam is still suffering. I pray it will be different for Iraq forty years from today.
Most of all I pray for our service men and women, that their sacrifices won’t have been in vain.
(Even if it was a McCain ad, the message is so appropriate that I had to include it.)