It’s etched into my memory.
From the back seat of our gold Chevy Impala, the small white tombstones seemed to go on forever. My daddy explained to me that these graves contained the bodies of Veterans who had served our country to protect our freedom.
“Did all of them die in the war?” I asked.
“Many of them did,” he said.
“Ok,” I replied, looking out at the tombstones once again, thankful that one of them wasn’t marking my daddy’s grave.
Daddy served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 22 years. He spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and continued to serve his country even when he returned to less than honorable fanfare.
He didn’t do it for the fanfare.
He did it for me. He did it for my Mama and my sisters and their families. He did it for you and your family and for families across this nation.
He wasn’t alone. He served alongside countless others in the armed forces that we call our Veterans. Brave men and women, giving of themselves for the rest of us.
On this Marine Corps birthday (Nov 10th), on the eve of Veteran’s Day (Nov 11th), I echo the words of Pastor Rick Warren in honoring our Veterans.
“It’s important for everyone to remember who it is who has secured the freedoms we enjoy.
It’s our Veterans, not reporters, who give us the freedom of the press.
It’s our Veterans, not poets, who give us the freedom of speech.
It’s our Veterans, not political organizers, who give us the freedom to assemble.
It’s our Veterans, not lawyers, who give us the freedom to have a fair trial.
It’s our Veterans, not politicians, who give us the freedom to vote.
It’s our Veterans, not preachers, who give us the freedom to worship publicly.”
To those of you who serve or who have served, especially my dad, on behalf of a grateful nation and a grateful son, “Thank you.”
*Photo courtesy of Suzy Turbenson