I made sure the flag was flying proudly from the porch of The House on the Hill before I left for my morning run.
Our Veterans deserve to be celebrated, remembered, honored, and admired. I hate that Veterans Day is no longer a day off for everyone, and I’m not sure why society has allowed that to happen.
I thought I’d honor this Holiday with a different kind of story. I don’t like to open up the vault and reveal too much about my past, but I want to tonight.
My father served in the Marine Corps during World War II and was stationed in Japan. He never talked about his time in the Marines, and I had to resort to reading The Corps series by W.E.B. Griffin to get a better understanding of what my Dad’s life as a Marine might have been like.
This story sums up a more personal reason as to why I admire our Veterans so much…
I was a senior a NYU, spending Winter Break in the dorm with my friends. J was there, she was still just my girlfriend, and had no idea she’d grow up to become my ex-wife.
That was when the TV screen turned green and grabbed our attention.
The Gulf War had kicked off in earnest, and it was happening live on television, as if it were a sporting event.
Most of us in the dorm room were males, a few months from graduating.
Suddenly, our country was at war. Right there on the TV.
I don’t know what my friends’ immediate thoughts were, by mine were of fear, panic, and wondering how soon it was going to be before I got drafted.
I was from a generation that was too young to remember the Vietnam War happening, but had learned all about it by watching movies.
We knew how the draft worked. We knew what it was like to be yanked out of college and sent halfway around the world to fight in a foreign land. We knew that so many people our age went to war and returned home in body bags.
Vietnam War movies made me scared to death of what the images on my TV screen meant for my future, one that two minutes ago had been so bright.
But now, because some madman in Iraq had decided to invade Kuwait, my future was going to be spent in fatigues, marching across a desert, and trying to stay alive for however many years this war dragged out.
My life was over. I wasn’t a Marine like my father was before me. I was a chicken #$%^ who had no interest whatsoever in going to war.
I knew I wasn’t a soldier.
I was a writer, not a hero.
I had a mini panic attack and seriously wondered if I could convince J to run off to Canada with me until the war was over.
Everything I knew about war and being a soldier I’d learned from movies and books. I didn’t need to be a genius to realize I was not cut out to defend this country.
Then the war was over.
Technology had changed the way wars were fought. America was never going to have another Vietnam. There will probably never again be a reason for a draft.
Soldiers defend our country voluntarily. No one is shipped off against his will.
I did not, and will never have what it takes to be an American Hero.
Thank you, Veterans.
I could never do what you do, and I am incredibly grateful for your service.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You will be in my prayers as well…