Shopaholic girl, living on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Follow along as I share Adventures in Shopping, Coastal Lifestyle and Fun Times, and Trying to Lose Weight after turning 40-something! Expect to hear a lot about my obsessive Lilly Pulitzer shopping habits along the way....XOXO
Friday, November 11, 2011
What It Means To Serve: Guest Post For Veteran's Day
In honor of Veteran's Day, please join me in welcoming a guest blogger - My Uncle Clint. A proud military veteran, he provides us with his insight on what this day means to him. Don't forget to leave him a little love in the comments...
I want to thank my Niece, Lori Driver, for asking me to share a few thoughts about my experiences and what Veterans Day means for this retired military man.
Veterans Day to me is one of the most significant and memorable days of the year. It causes me to pause and reflect on my own service time, my buddies whom I miss all the time, my family's collection of Veterans, and thanking all those who have ever served to protect this country. Veterans Day this year is even more significant when we have young men and women on the line fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and other remote regions of the world. An entire new generation of Veterans is coming up through the hard fought wages of war. Veterans Day to them will mean as much if not more than it does to us... for their world, their time, their wars are truly global in nature. God bless them all.
I proudly served in the United States Air Force from 1962 – 1983 & would gladly and proudly do it all again if I had the opportunity. The best things in my life happened during my time in the military: I met and married my wonderful wife, Monika, who hails from Germany. She presented us with our two sons who both went on to serve in the Navy and Air Force respectively. Now we have four terrific grandsons who are the apple of our eyes. The education, discipline, training & learning to be part of a team all were keys to my post-military career. To this day our closest friends tend to be people we met in the military. The military is not just a job; it is also about building lifelong friendships from a tightly knit community who are prepared to die for their country.
Our various tours of duty took me & the family to Europe twice & a number of different locations in the USA, including a one year tour in Korea that did not include the family. The real hero in keeping the family together & stable during my numerous deployments for weeks & months at a time was Monika, my wife of 46 years.
Sharing my feelings about Veteran's Day is not an easy thing for me to do. The treatment of our troops who fought in Vietnam by people in this country remains a bitter memory that I will never get over. Throughout our history veterans have been called upon by their country to go to war. They place themselves in harm's way, fight battles under extremely difficult circumstances, face the possibility that they might never see their loved ones again or may return severely injured and not enjoy life as before. In some cases, they become prisoners for years. They see horrendous violence and experience death and injuries to their fellow soldiers and close friends. They today suffer a panoramic blur of memories rushing through their minds. It never totally goes away. They seldom talk about it.
Veterans have fought in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and several smaller ones. These are good people who have left their homes and their loved ones to fight for America. Some of them did not come home. They lost their lives for their country.
A veteran can say: "I have seen the worst of combat and unlike many of my comrades, I survived." "I miss those who gave their all with me in combat. I think of them often." "I am glad I had the opportunity to pay back to America for all the freedoms and privileges I have. I don't take them for granted." "I fought for your right to disagree with what I personally believe. And I continue to think it was and is the right thing to do. It is a tradition handed down from our founding fathers that must continue if America is to achieve their vision."
And yet, I realize that in these times of accelerated living, most people neither want to take the time to reflect nor understand what it is to be a veteran. Even more important is to understand what America might be like if there had not been veterans who went into combat for their country. Many of them laid it all on the line for us. We owe these veterans more than we can ever repay.
As you know, all across America we celebrate our veterans both those living and dead for what they gave to all of us. Without them, America would not be what it is today. I am proud to be a veteran - not because I want people to thank us, but because I, like all my fellow veterans, am glad I had an opportunity to pay back to America for all the freedoms and privileges that we enjoy today. This is the day that I give special thanks and remember my fellow veterans.
You see, war is not something that anyone wants. After each war we hope that there will never be another one, but people, and countries, cannot get along. My hope is that no American will ever have to go to war again. But, if it is necessary, I hope there will be Americans there to serve their country proudly.
Speaking only for myself, I appreciate our country's respect and formality in honoring our veterans and military, but don't care much for being made an example of someone who should be honored. I prefer instead to demonstrate my own admiration for my country and fellow veterans.
Only Two Defining Forces Have Ever Died For You : Jesus The Christ And Your American Soldier – Jesus Died For Your Soul And The Soldier Died For Your Freedom
Happy Veteran's Day.
Lori, Uncle Clint & Aunt Monika - 11/5/99 at my sister's wedding. I love these two!