My father served in the Army Corp of Engineers. I never really thought about what he might have experienced in WWII.
I went to college with guys who served in Viet Nam. Most of them came back pretty messed up. They were stoned most of the time and talked about horrible things in a flat monotone. And nobody ever though to thank them. They were the enemy.
A few years ago, my husband and I were in a restaurant and an older couple came in with a young man in uniform. It was obvious he was their son. When we left, we went up to them. The young man immediately stood. My husband shook his hand and thanked him for his service. I’ll never forget the look of love and pride on his parents face. And he was just a baby. I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner. I mean he hadn’t even started life yet and God knows what he had or was soon to see.
I can’t believe there was ever a time when I thought nothing of these mostly young people who put their lives on the line for us everyday. Maybe Jack Nicholson was right when he said “You can’t handle the truth.”
I go out of my way now to thank anyone in uniform. They and their families sacrifice so much for all of us, people they don’t even know. And for that I am grateful.