Yesterday, Veteran’s Day, in San Antonio was warm & breezy. . . and we worked all day continuing to get our Christmas tree site set up. We waited most of the day also for some supplies & a visit from our supervisor. But finally at 7:30pm, we got away to go to Applebee’s for a free meal, like we’ve done for the past two years.
Jeff has gone with other lot managers to Laredo today to help get that lot & tent set up & this was the only clouds in the sky at sunrise after I returned from dropping him at the warehouse. I’ve been reading the numerous blogs I like to follow, & many have been about Veteran’s Day. Since I have no one to talk to (except the dog & cats) about the many thoughts these blogs have spawned — you’re my audience.
Terry of Ignoring the Barking Dogs posted some great information about how many veterans there are in our US population [maybe only 1%]. I’ve always wondered about this since I’ve met SOOOO many vets thru the years, especially during our camping/RVing experiences. She also gave a link to Toby Keith’s video of American Soldier. Wow, did those images & words ever bring back a plethora of memories of my eight years spent on active duty in the US Navy, stationed in Orlando, San Diego, Guam (twice), Oahu Hawaii, & Corpus Christi TX. And the video unleashed lots of tears — mainly for all the other vets!
I intensely remembered working a grueling 2-2-2 & 80 schedule in a comm center that never closed, hours spent on air planes & in air ports getting to & from far-off duty stations lugging around my sea bag, working during hurricanes & typhoons, seeing a different doctor or dentist with each visit, frequently missing holidays, birthdays, funerals, & other familiar events, working without windows in our 18-24” thick-walled spaces, and even cleaning our own spaces secured behind cypher door locks. Did I mention standing at parade rest for inspections & assemblies in dress blues in the hot afternoon sun too?
And I only served on shore duty during peace times so my experiences are so much nicer than those serving in actual combat conditions. Ultimately, the camaraderie was the BEST, the food usually not bad, & the fulfilling sense of being a part of something made it all worthwhile! I’ve always wished that anyone is the US involved in racial and ethnic disputes could be magically transported to a non-US location to finally wrap their mind around ALL the many, many things they have in common so they’d stop focusing on just their few differences! Perspective!
And then Debbie of Fork in the Road talks about “thank you” not being enough. As much as I appreciate the acknowledgements, I’ve never quite felt the need for them for myself. Yes, the Viet Nam vets especially need the thanks yous finally, but I don’t feel like I deserve them as much. Let me explain.
There are probably as many reasons to join the military as there are veterans (outside of the draft, that is), but for me, it was security and adventure. I was divorced, struggling to support myself, & generally lost. Uncle Sam was a way to survive. . .& actually thrive. But there’s also my warrior’s heart which never questioned acceptance of dying for a higher cause. Somehow I knew at age nine that FREEDOM was the most important aspect of living. This all probably sounds really corny, huh, but I have to admit to believing in reincarnation (or something like it) because even during basic training, I felt like I had finally come home. Joining the military (and then completing college on the old GI Bill — thank you, Uncle Sam) were the two best decisions I’ve ever made. Well, in addition to choosing Jeff as my best friend for nearly 17 yrs.
I feel that the vast majority of people serving in the military (also police, firefighters, & EMTs) are very much aware of the dangers they face — and they make a conscious choice to take those risks. They do what they need to do. . .ultimately to help people. My point is that it doesn’t feel so much like a sacrifice at the time. It’s a means to satisfy an inner need that outweighs the hardships. It’s doing, helping, living life on your own terms. It taught me to stick with something until I find a solution, grow up & take responsibility for my own choices, & to stand up for myself. I discovered that if I ever had to point a gun at someone, there was no doubt in my military mind that I could shoot it!
So instead of a one-day-a-year acknowledgement, I like Brian’s thoughts of Going RV Boondocking on how the American public can really show an appreciation and understanding for a veteran’s service —be a good example and make a difference. Shouldn’t that be everyone’s ultimate goal in life?
As the dawn moon shines brilliantly over my little home in a San Antonio parking lot.