My husband is in the Army right now, as I type this, and for the foreseeable future, so Veterans Day means a lot to this family. We appreciate, very much, all of the respect paid to my husband on this day and, to be fair, on so many other days throughout the year. I can't count the number of thank you's he gets for his service just about everywhere we go. He regularly has meals paid for. Sometimes, he comes home with gift cards to give to his unit because so many people paid for his lunch, there was money left over.
It is humbling for us to know that people out there are reaching into their own pockets or stopping and taking a moment of their own time to thank him for his service.
This year....we got a special surprise.
My son's teacher back in Arizona sent my husband a book made up of letters her 3rd grade class wrote to him regarding his service.
It is the sweetest, funniest, most heart-felt compilation of thoughts, questions and comments I've ever read. I read them each out loud to our family over dinner, and we all laughed, shook our heads and paused, more than once, at the profundity of some of what these kids had to say.
Here are 10 of my favorite questions/comments from the book:
1. Why in the Army do you all have to button your buttons straight? Well I don't!
2. I just can't thank you enough for all you have done for this country. I wish I could say this all right in front of you and give you a hand shake but I can't.
3. I want to be in the Army is good for me because the Marines is that I'm scared of the ocean and I'm scared of sharks.
4. Do you get to drink water when the war is going on?
5. When you see a dead body do you leave him or bring him back?
6. Do you camouflage into things?
7. What is military time? I have heard of military time but I don't know what it means.
8. Do they yell at you?
9. I heard you have to wake up very early. I'm sorry about that.
10. How do you have the courage to go in the Army everyday?
These are just a few of the many questions and comments. All of the kids were incredibly thankful and gracious and sweet. I read it every morning now, sitting in the kitchen at the table, drinking coffee. Children are so wise and honest, so true.
On this day, I am grateful for my husband's service, for the service of my grandfather and my husband's two grandfathers, for the service of my sister's husband (who was severely injured in the war), for my nephews and for all of the veterans I've met along the way who fight the good fight in so many ways, some of them visible, some of them not.
I am grateful to the spouses of our Veterans for fighting alongside them, for keeping the proverbial home fires burning, for holding up half of the sky so soldiers can go out and do what they do (and love) best.
I am grateful to every mother and father who ever watched a child join the military and go off...to training, to a service academy, to a new posting...to war.
I am grateful, perhaps most of all, to the children of Veterans who keep a stiff upper lip when their parent is deployed or when they start at yet another new school or when they don't know how to ask the questions that sit in the back of their throats.
And I am grateful to this nation, full of people who can put politics aside and cross a room to thank a soldier for his or her service.
And finally....I'm thankful my husband doesn't actually read this blog. He'd roll his eyes and tell me to cut the dramatics. :)
Happy Veterans Day.