photo: getty images
Today is Veteran's Day. My kids asked me if I had the day off, like schools do today, to which I said, "No." My son asked me, "is that because you aren't a soldier, Dad?" I just smiled and said, "Yes."
I was thinking about my veterans' this morning, as I do every Veterans and Memorial Day, during my drive into work. One thought that stuck with me while staring at the red brake lights on the Twin Bridges this morning was the image of American Flags that lined the middle of the street where my Grandparents lived in San Diego. Twice a year the town would put those flags out. When I was about my sons age, I asked my father about them and he told me they were to remember the brave soldiers who fought for our country.
I guess when we are younger, we think of veterans being older men. I remember the watching the WWII vets wave from their float as they passed the crowd during the Veterans Day parade in my hometown of Yuma, Arizona. The smiles on their faces. Their hats read: "WWII", "KOREA", and "VIETNAM." Through history class, we learn of the wars and conflicts our Country has fought in over the years and the men and women who served to protect our freedom.
In high school maybe you had a friend or two that enlisted. The idea of vet starts to change from that old man wearing a hat in the parade to a classmate or friend. I know it seemed very surreal for me when my sister joined the Army, served in Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan, and came home with pictures and stories of her time in combat.
For those of us who have led a civilian life, we may feel uncomfortable today, not sure what to say to veteran. I used to struggle with the right words. I found five that are genuine and when you say them with a handshake, I guarantee you'll get a smile back.
To all those who have served, their to their families and loved ones, thank you for your service.