The Statue of Liberty stands tall and proud, welcoming all who want to live here but warning them that living here doesn’t come without hard work. She is the gateway to America and she is not to be messed with. This, along with the pride of a city, was on full display Monday, November 11 – Veterans Day. Bugle’s bopped and drum-rolls rat-a-tated and dress uniforms were on full display. You could feel it in the air, a pride that was infectious to all. We could all stand tall today.
All weekend I thought about what I could, what I should say. Veterans Day came, with a parade down 5th Avenue and people in uniform everywhere I looked, I figured that I would surely get inspiration. Nothing came.
Then it dawned on me. There are thousands of things I could say to show how I feel, on how proud I am of people like my grandfathers and my father. Then again, no matter how many words I said or how many hearts I may reach, I could never say enough.
Growing up I loved looking at all of the Navy memorabilia from my father. His pilot helmet often adorned my brother and my heads, and we loved freaking out our friends with his ‘live’ ammunition of bullets. One of my grandfathers served in WWII, the other in Korea and I wish they had told us more stories. I have been to military Balls with friends in college, dressed up in my dad’s flight suit for halloween and told my dad I would be the first female Blue Angel (pretty sure that duty was fulfilled by the time I was 13, but hey, a girl can dream). While I never chose to join the military myself (although to this day I still wonder ‘what if’) I honor and love every single person who chooses to serve in any way, shape or form. Anytime I see someone in uniform I just want to run up and give them a big hug. I want to thank them and sit and hear their stories.
I’m pretty sure randomly giving people in uniform a big hug is not socially allowed and would probably get me in trouble (or physically injured) somewhere down the line, but that’s how I feel. But that’s what I want to do. I want to show them all how grateful I am for their sacrifice, their service. And while I may not always agree with the places they go to fight, I always support them. In my mind a mandatory service in the military, like many other countries require, seems as necessary to me as does a job in the service industry. They are both service, one is just putting up with the ignorant, annoying person you are serving food to while the other is serving the people who call this place home yet would only defend it through a video game. Yes, I understand that I have never served, but let me say again that if told that one person from each family needed to go I would in a heartbeat. And you are welcome to comment, ‘well then stop talking about it and go now’, but I am at a new phase of my life where that just can’t happen.
I love the military. I love the order, the tradition, the history. I love the Navy a bit more than the rest, but that’s because my father, a former Navy Fighter Pilot, made sure I had the bias. I know the songs. I can play them all on my clarinet (nerd, yes). But most of all I love the people in each of those branches. I love that their heart and their conscience was strong enough to go there. I love that they will literally do ANYTHING to protect this country and all who inhabit it, no matter the cost.
I could go on and on about my love and respect for my veterans, but I will never say enough to convey my feelings and gratitude to a level I feel they should be. So please, let me just end with
I Love You. Thank You.