Today is Veteran’s day in the U.S. Today is the day we recognize the less than 2% of Americans that hold up their hand, swear in, and say “I will”.
I have grown up around the military, and I am: the daughter of a Vietnam Army Vet (2 tours),the daughter-in-law of an Army Vet (26+ years), the ex-wife of an Army Vet (5+ years), the wife of a Navy Vet (24 years), the mother of a Navy Vet (1 tour), and the proud friend and supporter of those who have served….some for a career, some for a tour.
All of them are amazing and brave people that I am grateful to have shared a little of my life with.
My biological father is gone now. Passed away 02/15/2015. ( Little bit of Xunnie trivia and some irony: my husband and my father both share(d) a birthday; 12/03!) I make the distinction because the guy who I call “Dad” and the guy who shares my genes are not the same guy. But they have both since passed away. My Dad in 2012, buried in Hawaii. My Father in 2015, buried in Oregon.
Life is messy. It is what it is.
But in my search to find out why I have a rare birth defect and now a brain tumor, I got a hold of my father’s service records.
He was drafted into Vietnam and did two tours. I don’t have much from him, and I haven’t had his name since I was 18, but I am honored to see he served honorably. I don’t have the details (they tend to keep those locked up, and I’m fairly certain his service records might have been at least partially lost in a fire in the 70’s), but he received a Bronze Star!
The Bronze Star Medal, unofficially the Bronze Star, is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth-highest individual military award and the ninth-highest by order of precedence in the US Military.
My husband retired in 2013, with 24 years of service.
My son joined the Navy, did a tour, served his country, and now lives in California. He’s using his GI Bill benefits and going to school as he moves on to the next chapter of his life.
My father, my father-in-law, my ex-husband, my husband, my son, my friends, and now their kids have all held up their hand and swore to serve.
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
They ran towards the fear and the fight. And I am honored to know them and love them, humbled by their service, and eternally grateful.