Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day

I don't believe anyone in my immediate family is a veteran. 
My Aunt Gerri was a Navy nurse, and my grandpa (my mom's dad) was sent to training for WWII, but he didn't get sent into combat. 
My dad was close to being drafted into Vietnam (or at least that's how I remember it, when I asked him). 

So my experiences with veterans have been through my friends, and, in one case, my cousin's husband. 

I am sure I am leaving some out, but I would like to thank: Steve, Brad, Kenny, Rob, and Dustin (who died in Iraq a few years ago), as well as all the other men and women of our armed forces who have given so much for our nation, including their lives. 

I remember the first time it dawned on me that my friends could die in war. It was in 2000, when Gladiator came out. I had just seen it with my friends, and one of them was dropping me off at my house after the show. 

We were standing in my driveway (it was a beautiful, star-filled night), and I said, "do you realize...that could be our friends, called up to fight in a war, somewhere across the globe?"

It was a sobering realization. We were almost all 18 (with the exception of Tom, who would have his birthday in August). Sure, we weren't going to fight the Barbarian Hordes in Germania, but it could happen. 

And a little more than a year later, when we were sophomores in college, it did. 
All of the guys I've mentioned above fought in the Iraq war, in some capacity. Some are still in service (Rob) and some are in law school now (Steve).  My friend Liz and her husband are doctors with the Navy, and they have a newborn son. 

The sacrifices they have made for us astound me on a daily basis.

Thank you. 

O Beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesty
Above the fruited plain!
America, America
God shed His grace on thee!
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for heroes proved
 In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! 
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

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