Monday, November 11, 2013

What Veterans Day Means To Me

By the time that I was eight, my dad had retired in anticipation of my baby sister’s birth. While my youngest years were spent bouncing around, the chaos of being a military child ended at a younger age, but not without the values and morals of the military lifestyle being instilled.
Although I was young, I can remember the loneliness I felt while my dad was gone, but nothing compared to the memories of his homecomings.
This is why Veterans Day means so much to me.
On Nov. 8, the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross hosted a banner signing on the 16th Street Mall in Denver, where the public was invited to sign two banners and holiday cards to send to our troops overseas. The experience was humbling to say the least.
Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to chat with some of the people who had stopped to see what was going on, and heard some of their stories. From a group of little girls who had a neighbor deployed to Vietnam Vets who saw the banner with tears in their eyes, the stories were humbling.
One man’s story stood out the most to me. His name was Todd. Although he wasn’t able to serve himself, he came from a lineage of veterans, and his brother as well as his son continued on the legacy of military service in his family. When he approached the banner, I could see the tears welling up in his eyes. Todd was accompanied by his dog Sarah Moon, who seemed to have felt his emotion, and cuddled against him to comfort him. As he signed the banner with intricate precision due to his art background, I could tell that Veterans Day meant as much to him as it did to me.

After he finished signing the banner, I was able to sit and chat with him for a few minutes. We talked about sports and the weather, and he told me a bit about the history of service within his family before he said, “This made my day, and if this touched me as deeply as it did, imagine what his is going to do for the guys like my brother.”
The stories I’ve heard from people like Todd, in addition to those from veterans like my father, will always have a special place in my heart. For these men and women, their service and sacrifice came as a second nature to them, and that selflessness is what makes today so special.
Thank you Veterans for everything you’ve done.

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