Today I am taking a break from writing about writing to say, “Thank you.”
This is Memorial weekend. It’s a weekend when we take stock of what we have as a country and thank the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. My family is not a particularly military family. I lost an Uncle in WWII on the USS Quincy at Savo Straits. I never knew him, of course. My mother’s brother was in D Day and survived. My father worked for Otis Elevator Company. He was an engineer and was instrumental in developing the Aeronautic division at Otis. They also built the lifts for the air craft carriers.
My husband’s father was in WWII, he served in the US and Greenland on sub patrol. My husband’s mother was one of the first WAAC’s. There is a book there at some point. Although I never met the woman, I’ve heard so many stories over the years that a book is the only way to tell her tale.
My brother served in Viet Nam (as did E. Michael Helms, a blog mate) and my husband. My husband, also an engineer as was my father, stayed in and developed some of the missile systems that keep us safe today. None of these three men escaped the Viet Nam war unscathed. Their wounds are both physical and emotional. Part of the emotional wounds were war service itself, I’m sure. Part of it was the climate in the country when they returned home. My brother and husband both tell tales of being accosted in the streets and called “baby killers.” Pretty tough stuff when you are dealing with the physical aftermath of war. I can’t speak for Mike—well I can, he’s written books about it—but I know the effects on my brother and husband run deep.
Why this personal story? This is, after all, a blog on writing. It’s because we must always remember that the wounds of war go deep. And we must say, “Thank you.” Agree with the war/conflict/action or not. It doesn’t matter. The soldier did not get to choose his war. He is called to serve. For your benefit and for mine.
If you can read this, then the veterans have succeeded. We are living in a free country where we can write and say whatever is in our heart and mind.
Freedom isn’t free. Thank a living veteran. Remember the fallen veterans.
Thank you Mike, and Gary, and Karl, and so many more whose names I do not know.