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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!


I said yesterday that I wanted to write a Veterans day blog, it's almost midnight and I am just getting to it!

I have to admit that I grew up with a very distorted view of who  a veteran really is. I blame this on the man that I call Dad! I say the man that I call Dad because he is my step dad but really he changed his whole life to raise my brothers and me.

My Dad is a good 20 years my mother's senior so some aspects of our life was a little different than most kids who had dads that where in their 30's and 40's. My dad was actually retired when he married my mother. However his retirement simply didn't support a family. So Dad came out of retirement and opened a land scaping business. All of us kids worked with him in some form or another, mowing lawns, starting and maintaining flower beds, trimming hedges you name it we did it.

During the summer time, every afternoon, after a hard days work we often took the old truck out to a local creek and all of us kids would help Dad wash the truck down in this shallow area of the creek. Sunday was just about the only day we didn't work. In the cooler weather we often had very little land scaping and lawn mowing to do so we made ends meet by cutting and selling fire wood. Amazingly enough once apon a time I was pretty good at running  a gas powered wood splitter and I could tell you by site alone exactly how high  to stack the wood on the back of our truck to equal a rick of wood. I was an all around red neck country girl.

My dad didn't exactly think that the way I was being raised was proper for a girl, now remember he grew up in a time when women kept the home fires burning while the men went out and worked.  In order to compensate for my lack of a girly life he enrolled us kids into a private school where I had to wear a dress every day and take lessons on being a proper girl.

My dad is a veteran and actually suffered some fairly severe injuries during his military days. As a result he was also a member of the local  DAV (Disabled American Veterans). In another attempt to not raise a straight up red neck hillbilly for a daughter and I suppose for my brothers as well, my dad would take us with him to these DAV dinners and dances. I was required to wear a dress and everything. At least my brothers go to wear their boots!

All that leads me to why I blame my dad for my distored view of a veteran. For many years I went to these DAV dinners and dances, my two brothers and I where the only people there under the age of 30 and really my mother was in her 30's but the rest of the group was all little old men bringing their blue haired little old lady wives to dinner and a dance. One would think that as many dances as I was drug into by little old men I would at least have a vegue notion of how to at least do some old people's dancing. I have no idea why I never was able to learn to dance. However I did spend a lot of time listening to little old men tell war stories, nothing harsh just stuff they did but never any of the bad stuff really.

Let me clarify that I never thought that these men fought wars at that age, I knew that when they went off to war they where young vibrant men. In my mind though they didn't win the label of veteran until they reached retirement age. Even after being in the military myself and going on deployment I never saw myself as a veteran. It wasnt until a couple of years ago when my unit went on a second deployment and I was left behind due to pregnancy that I ever thought half heartedly about a veteran being younger than retirment age. When my unit returned and there were all these soliders that seriously where younger than me. Standing in formation it hit me one day, these young, right out of highschool kids are not just veterans but veterans of foreign wars!

I know times have changed so much since my dad's war days, and even from the days where I was a kid hanging out with little old men and their blue haired wives. Things have really changed in my mind though. I can't stress enough how amazing it is to realize that kids barely out of high school are serving our country and risking their lives so that we can all live in a free country.

Hats off to all the verterans out there, young and old, male and female.. and from the veterans to our families Thank You So Much for your support!! because with out it we could never manage the soldier's life!

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