Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Thanks, Dad

Last weekend while at the park with Tessa, I watched children play, parents chat. The sky was blue, the air was crisp. It was a perfect laid-back Sunday afternoon. It was also a perfect snapshot of what a gift it is to live free — to be able to laugh and play in the sunshine without fear. I’m not über political and I have big issues with “war” but I do appreciate those who take risks to make sure T & I can have Sundays in the park in addition to many other things. I am grateful.

Whenever I see a person in uniform, I thank them. I was raised to respect our men and women in service and it comes easy. Oddly enough, I’ve never looked my father in the eye on this day and said, “Happy Veteran’s Day” although for his service I am grateful.

My dad enlisted right after high school and did a tour in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne. He made it to Sergent. He was seriously wounded (almost lost his leg) and has a Purple Heart. In my parents’ home there are flags and shadow boxes of his pins, bars and medals. As a little girl I remember wearing his old fatigues for various costumes. I spent hours poking around in an old cigar box of square pictures — you know the ones with the white borders and ruffled edges. I would stare at these faded images of young men banding together. Smiling. While I knew it was a bad situation, I always took comfort that they managed to find little ways to have a good time. My dad also had a combat dog when he was in Okinawa after his injury in theater. That was my favorite picture and I always wished that dog could have come home with him.

And that, really, is about all I know. Vietnam is something we don’t talk about — couldn’t talk about — probably will never talk about. That’s okay. I respect the distance. As he once said, it’s “his thing” — I didn’t need to know the details.

But I know he was there. And I know he was proud to serve because that is how he was raised. His homecoming was nothing like what we see on TV today and that, at times, is a bitter slap. Yet it doesn’t keep him from flying a flag every day and showing his respect. I sometimes wonder if that is hard for him to do. Nonetheless, while we have our political differences and crazy debates, I’m proud to be his daughter on this day.

Thanks, dad, for making sure that I can take your grandchildren to the park — and live free and easy.  You had no idea back then what your service could mean.

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November 11, 2011 Posted by | Everyday | 1 Comment