Being the daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece (etc) of veterans, military service is close to my heart. Any man or woman who is willing to put his/her life on the line so I can enjoy freedom and security – well, they’re a hero to me.
Both of my grandfathers served in WWII, each in the different arenas. My Gpa Baker served in Europe, was injured in Europe, and served veterans even after he was back home. My Gpa King served in the Pacific as a gunner – he has a record of preventing Kamikaze fighters from hitting his ship – and he suffered permanent hearing damage for his time served.
My dad served 3 tours as a Marine in Viet Nam. He was spit on when he returned home and called a “baby killer” by some hippie who had the right to say so because my grandfathers and my father were willing to fight for FREEDOM itself. I won’t argue with anyone about VietNam. My dad served because he felt it was his duty as an American citizen to further the cause of freedom, whether you agree with what you’ve heard about VietNam or not, and I can guarantee that what my kids will learn about VietNam won’t just come from some slanted biased text in school. War IS hell, and I’ve hated war from the time I can remember – but evil necessitates war.
My brother served 2 tours in the Navy in our current war on terrorism. Dave was scheduled to go on a Mediterranean cruise just 6 months after “Lola” was born – but September 11, 2001 changed everything. For him, for his family, for all of us. And he served both in Afghanistan and Iraq.
They all saw first hand the horrors of war. They all came home changed men. In some ways better, and in some ways haunted by the terrible things they witnessed there, and for some of them the terrible things witnessed when they came home.
I can only imagine what war actually DOES to one’s spirit, mind, and heart. I have seen some of the results of war played out in my own family.
ANYONE who is ungrateful or unmoved by – or who is critical and disrespectful of the service of – one human being for the life & security of another does not deserve FREEDOM at all. But FREEDOM does not discriminate and is given even to the undeserving.
Our veterans literally sacrifice themselves for us – and we need to do so much more for them than to just remember them on a Tuesday in November. For each and every war that our nation has been a part of, the men and women who served did not do so simply for a pension or good benefits – maybe that was an initial attraction to military service for some – but the men and women I have known – have served for LOVE OF COUNTRY and LOVE OF FREEDOM. And THAT makes a hero. And our heroes deserve so much more from us than just a pat on the back or a free meal somewhere (that’s only just a start!)
Our veterans – if anyone – need their health care and need to know that their service was not in vain and won’t be swept away by some legislation that would reduce their service to “just a job.” When it comes time to vote – and when our elected leaders vote – WE should take a stand and FIGHT for our veterans. They gave themselves in our place when it came down to life vs. death. And they deserve our respect, our support, and our sacrifice now.