There have been stories in the past of anti-war groups protesting at military funerals or other events that honor the military. People have the right not to agree with war – I myself do not support it – but there is a time and a place for everything. What few people realize is the extremely high price that soldiers and their families have to pay.
My father is a sergeant in the Army Reserves and he did a tour of duty in Iraq for 18 months. Because he was overseas, there weren’t a lot of phone calls, just a few intermittent letters. I was also unable to see my father for about two years. Every time I turned on the news and saw that more troops had been killed or injured, I always worried that it was my father until I heard from him.
My grandfather and his brother served in the Air Force during Vietnam as paratroopers. My grandfather returned from Vietnam, but his brother did not. He landed on a land mine during one of their jumps. I remember how, when I went to the Vietnam Memorial in D.C., my grandfather asked me to bring back a rubbing of his brother’s name. As I showed it to him, I could see just how much it meant to him.
I am fortunate in that the majority of my family members have made it back from war, but other families have not been so lucky. There are families torn apart by the loss of a loved one overseas each day. There are also those who have been forced to relocate time and time again because of a parent being on active duty.
Veterans Day is not just any other day to me. It’s a day to appreciate the sacrifices of countless men and women, so that we can enjoy the freedoms we take for granted. If you see a veteran, thank and honor him or her because not everyone is willing to die for this country.
Taylor Duckett is a junior majoring in economics.