“He’s the reason we’re free!” I’ll never forget hearing those words. My husband had taken the girls to visit some veterans on Veteran’s Day. As the girls entered the hallway, a young man in a wheelchair approached them. He had lost his legs and one arm in war. Sarah looked at her dad and then at the man and said “He’s the reason Americans are free today!” The young man just nodded as if he was showing gratitude for her comment. Oh Veteran’s Day! Let me back up a little bit….
When I was growing up, Veteran’s Day was a holiday from school. I never really thought too much about it. It was day you could usually find someone handing out poppies for a
donation. I liked the poppies. My dad would usually buy me one.
When I met my husband, he was in the Navy, on active duty. And once married I quickly began to learn what it was like to be a Dependent Wife. We moved around a lot and each place brought us new adventures, new homes and new friends. The people you would quickly make friends with and live nearby for a short while but have kept in touch with forever. I loved moving. Someone would come and pack up your life into some boxes and crates while you watched and then deliver them to your new home.
Mostly I loved the adventure. The adventure hit a little too close to home when we were stationed in Guam. First my husband had a scuba accident and the island had an earthquake and during the 2 years we were there we survived 37 typhoons, water rationing, power outages and brown tree snakes. For those of you not used to typhoons, they are hurricanes that form in the Pacific (hurricanes form in the Atlantic). Funny thing is I had always heard “women and children” first, but not in the Navy. If a storm was approaching, the sailors would take that ship out to safe water and leave the women and children to fend for themselves. It was a long two years. The scuba accident coupled with other problems caused my husband to be disabled and once out of the military, he became not only a veteran but a disabled veteran.
Because of his love of the military, my husband now works for the VA and helps takes care of other veterans like himself. He loves to educate people on the Veteran’s benefits they may be entitled to. He has even written a book on benefits and has started his own blog to help veterans. I guess you could say we are a blogging family.
From the time my girls were in elementary school, they have spent many of our country’s holidays visiting veterans in the hospital, usually the Spinal Cord Injury or SCI center.
The men and women there enjoyed the visits and cookies my daughters would share. Many of these veterans were in there early 20’s. Hence the young man
mentioned in the beginning of today’s blog.
So now Veteran’s Day means more to me than poppies. It is about the men and women who bravely fought for all the freedoms we take for granted every day. Oh, I will buy a poppy and I will wear it proudly to honor all the veterans for all they have done. And I will hug a veteran, now where is my husband?
Speaking of veterans, please visit my husband’s blog at www.veteransadvice.wordpress.com.