Today was a day that really hit me hard emotionally. Although being a mere 48 years old, when it comes to being or showing my patriotism, I am a “little cry baby”. I had an appointment at the North Texas VA Medical Hospital, and as always: I relish the time that I get to people gaze.
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to have served in 2 branches of the US Military. I was in the US Navy form 1982-1986 as an Aviation Boatswains Mate Fuels (meaning – flight deck fuels) and earned a campaign medal for the Beirut/Lebanon Crisis. I was also in the US Army from 1987-1991 as a 13BJ4 (meaning – Field Artillery Nuclear Assembly) and earned 2 Campaign medals for Desert Shield and Desert Storm/Gulf War. Wow, still get the goose bumps thinking of my sacrifice to this great land I chose to protect.
Back to the VA Hospital. Seeing all those men and women that put their lives on the line for our freedom was astonishing. I saw old Veterans from WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam just shuffling around. Some were in wheelchairs, some limping, some moaning or grunting when they walked and others that had to be escorted because it seemed they didn’t even know they were there. I had to wipe tears often as I sat there waiting for my appointment.
Then I saw the most recent War veterans. That was the “kicker”. I have never seen so many amputees in one place in my life. I am talking about your service members that are in their early 20’s and 30’s that have their whole life ahead of them but without certain limbs.
We as US Americans CAN NOT take this for granted. Just look around and see who sacrificed their livelihood for your freedom. Their lives will NEVER be the same. One of the tings I do on an everyday basis is when I see a person wearing a military war veteran hat or shirt at the store, I stick out my hand and thank them for their service. I dont start a conversation, I just say thank you for your service and be on my way. You never really know how much someone appreciates the simple “thank you’s”.
I am also a Past Post Commander of American Legion Post 23 Rowlett, Texas for 2 years. And also Past Board Trustee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5076 Garland, texas for 1 year. I love my combat comrades as much as I love myself.
I AM A PROUD US VETERAN and you should too.