Friday, October 23, 2009
WHEN I WAS MUCH YOUNGER
Late at night I often reflect back on my time in the military. It seems like that was a lifetime away and now it was. I was in SEA in 1972, over 37 years ago. My reflection is that I don't remember a lot about it because I put it in a different part of my brain. I did my part and went on with my life. Most veterans are like that. My dad and uncle didn't talk about their time and I don't make a practice of it.
Once in a while, it comes up in my classes and I embellish a bit because I want the students to know that service is honorable and that the sacrifices of veterans ensured their way of life. Veteran's day is coming up and I'll make a presentation to the students about sacrifice and what it means to be an American. Then I'll put it away in my brain space and go on with my life.
Then out of the blue something crops up that makes me remember. My mom called tonight to check on my wife. It made me a little guilty that she called me instead of me calling her. When I was away in SEA I was young and didn't get the pressure it put on my family. One day I received a letter from home. I eagerly opened it and inside I found a piece of paper inside on which my mom had written "Dear mom and dad" and it ended there. My mom had also thoughtfully added a stamped and self-addressed envelope. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I got the message.
The pressure on the families is immense and often underestimated. The veterans have it tough, but the families have to wait. That's much worse.