Since there was more than one person on this planet there have been arguments and confrontations which unfortunately have at times led to war. Wars have been started for so many reasons ranging from the just to the most selfish, greedy, and vile reasons. Sticks and stones have gone on to spears and arrows to rifles and atomic bombs. No matter the weaponry, time in history or place on earth – young men and women have laid down their lives for their tribe/clan/country. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but once upon a time we had a thing called The Draft. Your age + your draft number = Uncle Sam came a calling and you answered. Not everyone who joined the military was drafted; there were and still are many who enlisted to serve. There were even times when young (and I mean really young) men would fudge their ages in order to serve their country. Some do their tour of duty and that’s it while others make a career of it.
War never has nor ever will be pretty. WWI guys dealt with ugly muddy trenches and mustard gas. WWII dealt with being away from home for years and years and wretched prison camps. The Korean era guys dealt with the cold. Those who served during Viet Nam had to deal with a very difficult war both over there and at home. It was a very unpopular war and I believe one of the first to be somewhat televised. A lot of those veterans still bear the scars of coming home to a country that did not like them. Since then we have had and still have Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq, and probably some I am forgetting. Every war (and some deployments) leaves some sort of mark on those who were there.
I had a Grandfather who served during WWI, my father was in the service during the Korean era, my brother was in Viet Nam, a nephew was part of Desert Storm….only the nephew is still with us. My father never spoke much about his time in the service outside of a few bawdy marching songs they were taught by their sergeant. My brother came back a changed man from Viet Nam and also did not like to talk about it, although he did tell us this really raunchy story about toilet paper and running while it was on fire. Trust me, you don’t want to know the details. He never even told us he was over there until he was transferred to the Philippines. If he had told us where he was at the time (mom assumed he was being a bum and not writing) we all would’ve freaked out!
Men and women continue to serve and sadly sometimes do not make it back home. Some are blessed to come back home whole mentally and physically while others bear wounds seen and unseen. No matter what you may think about any particular war or who is in charge…respect and honor those who serve and have served. As I have heard some say ‘I hate this (fill in the blank) war, but I love our guys!’ Don’t cut their pay or benefits; they have earned them and then some. Help their families left state side who are trying to raise children while they serve. Give them the best medical help possible. Visit a veteran’s home and help out if you can or just visit. Some of those guys can tell some stories and like my dad did, cheat at poker like crazy! How dad ended up – innocently – with 7 cards in his hand while the rest of us had 5 we will never know.
My picture here was inspired by Steve over at Steve Allen Photography. Thank you, veterans. You are missed, dad.