A new and different way to feel grateful………We all know a veteran but sometimes we don’t even know we do. Look around your neighborhood and I bet you’ll find one, or two, or more of them.
Veterans through the years
When the armed forces returned after WWII they went back to their pre war lives, got married, raised families and usually kept their experiences to themselves. They have been called the Greatest Generation and many books have been written about their heroic acts but they only usually shared their stories with other veterans.
A lot of these veterans are in their 90s or have passed on.
The Korean Veterans came back and stayed quiet also. This wasn’t even called a war instead it was a “conflict.”(A rose by any other name is still a rose) These veterans are now in their 80s.
Then we have the Vietnam veterans who came back to a country that turned their backs against them. I remember one Military MD that returned home from Vietnam on a Friday. On Sunday as he was dressing to go to church his parents asked him not to wear his uniform.
I will never forget this man who was made to feel dirty after all he had done for our country.
I had the privilege to become friends with a Vietnam veteran who spent 5 years in Hanoi Hotel. He and many other former POW’s wrote books about their time in North Vietnam. His wife also wrote a book describing how families spend those years trying to get their loved ones released.
I spent 35 years as a nurse in the West Haven VA Medical Center and was honored to hear many stories. I wish I had kept notes but I didn’t. I recently read a manuscript that one of my patients gave me about his life as a POW in a Japanese Camp. It took me 20 years to get the courage to read it. He has died but I am trying to contact his family to see if his manuscript could be published.
And in this century we have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans who have served, regardless of your personal politics, may be your relative, neighbor… or even you.
I am not trying to be hawkish and to bring up anger to those living in those other countries who were once considered enemies and now are friends, but I feel that we should never forget the fact that history repeats itself. We can learn from the past but we also need to make sure that our children and grandchildren know about the past. As your children go back to school and need to write papers on history wouldn’t it be great for them to find a veteran and interview him or her.
What a great honor for the veteran and I bet the teacher gives them a “A”. And for the adults reading this you are going to feel proud of yourself and country.