When I was a kid, I distinctly remember arguing with my dad about War. I had been taught, in school, that War was bad. That America was imperialistic. And that the soldiers in Viet Nam had been baby-killing maniacs.
This was in the late 70s, I guess. What was I? 13? Old enough to think I knew shit, too young to realize I was just parroting the shit my teachers thought they knew.
My father is a calm man, by nature, and not one to rely on emotions to win an argument. He laid out the facts for me, as he saw them. He made a lot of sense, and eventually I ended up a lot more hawkish than Dad is.
A few months ago, Dad said something that shocked me. Not because it happened, but because he didn't tell me, all those years ago.
When he was coming home from Korea in the late 60s (they told him he could re-up and be sent to Viet Nam, or he could go home), people saw him in his Air Force uniform and called HIM a baby killer. My calm, loving, future Dad, who had spent his time in Korea fixing military vehicles and chatting up Korean bar girls and trying to learn the trumpet. They spat on Dad, in the airport. For wearing that uniform.
Today, I live in a Navy town. Hubby is a contractor, "supporting the War Fighter". And every single time I see someone in uniform, I want to stop them where they stand and THANK THEM for serving our country.
We are so damn fortunate to have people willing to fight for us. We are so privileged to have strong, dedicated patriots willing to do whatever it takes, to keep us safe and to maybe spread a little freedom, here and there. The world is a better place, because of the American military.
Thank you, Veterans. Thanks for all of it.