Veteran’s Day

Today this great Nation celebrates the lives and remembrance of those that rose to the challenge to defend who we, as a People, have become. Personally, I have too many family members that would fall under this category to actually name them all. Instead, I will just focus on one of them.
My Father,Pops, is a United States Naval Officer (retired). He spent 25 years in service to this country. 25 years…for those of us that have never served, the length of time one man dedicated his life in defending and keeping our shores safe, is enormous.
Yes, like most military families, we moved around from state to state, base to base. I didn’t grow up saying, “My dad is bigger than your dad,” it was more of a “My dad outranks your dad,” type of game.
He missed holidays, anniversaries, first of many accomplishments in his children’s lives and more birthdays than you can count.
When you grow up that way, it never really bothered you. You were used to it. No, I’m not saying I didn’t miss my Pops, it was just the norm for him to be on ship duty for weeks and months on end.
I admire him. I take great pride in being a ‘Navy Brat,’ even though it took me years to admit it. Thanks Pops, if only it was so simple as just saying it.
On this Veteran’s Day, there are other unsung heroes that so many fail to see. The families that were left behind. The mother’s and fathers, the husband’s, wives and even the children. While my Pops was out there doing his duty, it was my Mom that closed the ranks in for us. She did double duty on three kids. (And I was not the easiest of kids I will admit.) Growing up on the base, you watched the Mom’s rally the support for the newcomers. The young wife, new to this type of life, left alone while her husband was out to sea. The Mom’s would gather her close and welcome her into their ranks. They took care of each other. On moving day, the would pull on their gloves and march forward with brooms and buckets held high and tackle the job for getting the house ready for inspection.
They celebrated and cried with each other and for one another. Those too are heroes, for they were left behind.
So, thank you Mom and all the other spouses that were left on shore,to hold down the fort while your partner was out there.
When you see a Vet, take the time to thank them, but also take that moment- just that one second in time and give a nod to the one that stands by their side. A silent thank you is all that is needed, for holding down the fort, tightening up the armaments and sending their hearts out to battle…