I'm talking about it here because seeing those expressions of respect and gratitude made me feel proud because I too am a vet. In one of his requests to me to talk about myself, your dad asked the question, "What is something that you are proud of?" It isn't that I had a distinguished career in the military; I wasn't a volunteer. I was drafted. I stayed in only as long as I was required to and never had any desire to go back. I reached the rank of sergeant, but was fortunate enough to never be in combat. Nonetheless, I am proud that I served. When I see a soldier in uniform I feel a kinship with him (or her). I just read somewhere that approximately seven percent of Americans have served in uniform, that makes it a pretty elite group.
I am not advocating that any of you enlist. I am glad that your grandma and I were spared the fear that comes with having a son or daughter serving in harm's way and I would like to see your mom and dad spared that same fear. On the other hand, if any of you do choose to serve, know that you will have a proud grandpa saluting your choice.
Your grandfather is no poet, but this is as close as I can come to putting my feelings about being a vet into words. I am part of something. I am part of a group of men and women who feel they can hold their heads just a little higher than those who have not served. I share a bond with every soldier who ever lived. It is that bond that makes me proud.