Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

On February 15, 2003 I dropped H off in a parking lot. I fiddled with the necklace he had given me for Christmas only a few months before as I tried to figure out what to say to him. He stood before me, we hugged and kissed one last time and he said, "OK, so I will see you....whenever..." He smiled and I smiled but they were worried, nervous smiles. We knew that we had no idea when or if he would ever come home. Our future was a giant question mark.

Over the next six months I lived on a separate plane of existence. War was declared. Letters trickled in out of order. I lived for a dusty envelope to arrive in my mailbox. Flowers arrived for my birthday through H's best friend. I chuckle now that the florist sent yellow roses tied with a red, white and blue flag ribbon. At the time I was not amused. It felt ominous, not cheery.

When H was on the news one morning I called in a favor and got the tape. I had copies made for the entire family. The local recording company dropped them off personally saying, "We made you extras, we just wanted you to know how thankful we are for his service." When I forgot to start H's car for the duration of his absence the mechanic fixed all $800 worth of the problems for nothing. He simply said, "No charge ma'am. Tell your husband 'thank you'." The swamp cooler (that's the a/c for you non-desert folk) repair man came out of retirement because his son was too busy, did a rush job over a holiday weekend and made our house nice and cool because H might be coming home that weekend. It would be two more months before he felt that damp swamp cooler breeze.

When he finally did arrive, at 3 a.m., on a dark, black summer morning it was a huge relief. My office out in town had hung a giant banner welcoming him home. Our small town was so happy to see him and all the other troops on home soil. For now we wouldn't think about the future. Only that very moment.

It's not always such a warm welcome that has greeted our troops. My father received nothing of the sort. His sea bag of clothes was stolen when he arrived home. As a Vietnam Vet in the 1970's he couldn't find work simply because he served his country. So many of those men are lost soldiers even now that they are home and have been here for years.

On this Veterans Day we honor and thank them all. No matter what. Happy Veterans Day to all those who serve then and now. We thank you.

H & me at a family wedding in 2005.

My father when TD was born.


  1. Cheers to that! We had Marine Corps birthday cake last night, too.

  2. Happy Veterans Day and Marine Corps Birthday! My H is 'supposed to be' deployed for the first time next year OORAH!

  3. Thanks to your husband and all the other servicemen (and women), but thanks to you too. I can't imagine how hard it must be on all the families of those serving...


Thanks for commenting! It's always good to hear from a reader and not say, a robot.