Things have changed since I was young, thank goodness. I grew up in the sixties, which was a time of tumult, rebellion, and confusion over why some people preached peace and love and then conducted violent protests. The Viet Nam War was escalating and news coverage was more “real” than during the World Wars. It didn’t seem to me that anyone really remembered much about the Korean War, but to my knowledge, those troops weren’t treated as badly as those who came home from Viet Nam.
In my opinion, the treatment of the Viet Nam War veterans is a shameful part of our country’s history. Now it would seem we’ve learned from the mistakes and misunderstandings of the past. Since the day the twin towers fell in New York City, a new respect for our military has arisen. Perhaps it’s because the young men and women fighting for this country are now the children and grandchildren of those who served during the Viet Nam era. Those veterans would certainly make sure their loved ones were treated with the respect they didn’t receive upon their returns.
This all came to mind today as my grandson, Kaleb, leaves to start his Army basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. I’m terrified of course. I’d prefer to have him safe at home with his new bride, Brittany. However, I’m also bursting with pride in the fact that he wants to serve his country. He’s volunteering to take part in protecting the freedoms I enjoy. If it weren’t for young men like Kaleb, where would we be?
One of the most special moments I had with Kaleb was May 26, 1993, the day he was born. My son was in training with the Army in Texas and couldn’t get back to Indiana in time, so my daughter-in-law, Crystal, asked if I’d like to be with her in the birthing room. Believe me when I say she didn’t have to ask me twice. Watching that little man come into the world was one of the highlights of my life and I will always be grateful to his mother for asking me to share this with her. Now my Kaleb is a man who is about to become a soldier.
I know this isn’t a holiday when we celebrate our military, but why do we need a special day. We should be celebrating these wonderful men and women every day. If you come across a man or woman in a military uniform, just say thank you. Those two little words mean the world to them.
Until next time.