Since my son’s recent honorable discharge from the Marines makes him a veteran, he now joins those other young and older men and women being honored in the United States on November 11th for serving their country proudly. (I still look at him as my son, but it is impossible to explain how I feel about him for what he went through and did as a Marine.) And oddly, I now find myself reflecting back to when my mother woke me up one day many years ago, telling me that my draft number was in the first 50. My first thoughts were to look into joining the National Guard as a backup to possibly being called while still in college. (I know of another former Marine, who had that experience during the Vietnam War.)
Honoring All Who Served on Veterans Day
I would have even joined the Air Force, which my father and father-in-law served in, if college deferment wasn’t an option and my mom hadn’t misunderstood the draft lottery process. Yes, my birthday was to be selected within the first 50 numbers, but the actual draft number was around 250 … meaning no chance of being drafted.
Then there is the… what if I had joined the Air Force. I know this contemplation is more about my youngest son having served his country proudly, which fosters more thought about others I know who served, our troops still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ongoing war against terrorism. Of course, I know that doesn’t even come close to the real thing, but it doesn’t diminish my love and pride of country.
In fact, it is why I am adamant about appreciating what our veterans have already given to our country and what currently active troops are doing now for the USA. One can also hope that veterans in other countries are admired similarly, knowing that each country’s respective political environment can impact how citizens think.
Another thing for those of us who haven’t served, is that veterans are just like us too … Citizens. They just happen to have resumes that include being “on call” for their country. I am also sure that there are veterans reading this commentary besides just my son.
Oh yeah, a few good politicians are veterans, as well… Former Senator Bob Dole and former President Bush are the first two that come to mind, which is primarily due to them being from the great generation of my dad and father-in-law. Senators John McCain and John Kerry, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Senator Max Cleland are a few politicians who served in Vietnam and represent veterans of my generation.
So, please take the time to honor the veterans of your country with special attention on the official date. I intend to do so on November 11th … and was even motivated by this date to write the poems, Citizens Like Us and One Nation, Under God, which should hopefully make all citizens aware of what might not have been without the veterans through out the USA’s storied history.