Today is Veterans Day in the United States. For some it means a day off of work. For others it means a day they should have off, but their employer doesn’t recognize it as a holiday so they gripe for the wrong reasons.
For many of us it is a somber and sacred, if you will, day of remembrance and celebration of the men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country. We rode in the San Diego Veterans Day Parade with our riding club made up of a large group of Veterans.
San Diego has an immense military contingency, one of the largest in the country. I am under the weather and did not want to move, but it was important to get myself there to participate. Emergen-C, cold medicine and several cups of hot tea later we made it. Frankly, I expected a crowd of Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade proportions! Okay, maybe not that large, but I did expect a larger showing.
Still, it was touching and emotional. I teared up several times. I was humbled as the trolley of widows and widowers of our servicemen and women passed us by. I was so proud of the parents who brought their children out to honor and celebrate the men and women who have given their lives to this country. I was beaming with pride; I was born into this world and despite all of the flaws, the pride and connection have been ever present my entire life.
I sat on our bike and looked around at the wives, the husbands, the children; the men and women in uniform. We are a kin who do not have to know one another to know what the other was feeling today. I thought of the months at a time my father was gone when I was a kid. I thought of the struggles growing up as the child of a man in the military. I thought of the good and the world knowledge that only a military child can gain and of my father, who served three tours in Vietnam-a topic on which he rarely speaks. A purple heart, bronze and silver stars; there is a story there and it’s my dad’s story right now. He is getting older and maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to ask about what really happened during that war. It’ll be on his timeline, though.
I wondered about what my husband’s life was like on the Destroyer; sleeping in a rack no larger than a dining room table. I didn’t know him while he was deployed. Eight months out to sea, many hours spent working on a freezing ship’s deck and with very little contact with his daughters. It’s hard to comprehend what that must feel like. I also thought of how handsome he looks in those digis and dress blues of his and how he always steps up – always – with no desire or expectation for praise or recognition.
|Clockwise: At Harley meeting up, our bike, being ‘creative’, lined up to start the parade
There are times that all of us are unhappy with our country; its politics, its President perhaps. But there is one thing that should never waiver regardless of your politics, and that is the support of our military. The sacrifices go far beyond what many could ever imagine.
Someday it is my hope that we celebrate the men and women who defend our country more than men who defend a football and women who are famous for what their parents did.
Until then, please don’t ever forget that if you enjoy your freedom you should thank a veteran. No matter the day. No matter the time. A thank-you goes a long way.
|With the Padre
The hub’s shift just changed back to nights. He left tonight at 1700 hours (5:00pm) and will get back home tomorrow morning as I am waking up to get ready to head into the office. Our place is so quiet. I am grateful for the day we had together and the one night I had in his arms after returning from Florida. One night is better than none and my husband will return to our home at the end of his shift. There are so many other military spouses who are not as lucky as I. Please keep them in your thoughts.
To my husband, I am SO PROUD to be your wife. It makes you uncomfortable when people thank you for your service because you feel you don’t deserve the thanks; you do. I Love you. I thank you, too and you are my hero. Always. – Your wifey
With utmost gratitude to all of our veterans, you are the true heroes of this nation. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.
If you’d like to join us on the parade route, here’s the video from the Go Pro. You can skip through. You’ll see it was a perfect day for a parade. You’ll hear my yell a couple of times “GO AIR FORCE” and “GO NAVY” – and you’ll me take my sunglasses off to wipe them. That is because tears were collecting.