Monday, November 19, 2012


Veterans' Day is just a couple of days away so "honor the vets" is showing up in newspapers, on Facebook, and in various other places.  I heartily endorse this sentiment, especially toward those men and women who have actually taken part in armed conflicts (even the dubious ones currently winding down in the Middle East).
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.