Today I was able to walk in the sunshine.
To hug my kids.
To take a drive.
To work at home.
To fix dinner for my family.
To help a friend.
To freely choose, plan, dream what I want to do with my life.
I am blessed to live in this country, to have these freedoms we so take for granted. Others have paid that price for me. They’ve paid that price for others, throughout the years.
My dad served in the Vietnam war, now retired Air Force. We didn’t have internet, cell phones and such. My mom and dad wrote a lot of letters back and forth. I remember most the tapes. We had these reel to reel tapes which we’d record for dad. I could never think
of much to say, Mom insisted that we each leave a message for Dad. I was in about the 3rd and 4th grade. Dad would
send back tapes, he always seemed happy, but often you could hear things blowing up in the background.
At that age war seemed far away. Mom kept us busy, went hiking in the mountains, played capture the flag in the backyard with neighborhood kids, cooked cookies, rode bikes, went swimming, played board games in the basement. Sure we missed Dad, but were making new friends, enjoying life, nothing like riding a bike down to the malt shop, seeing a movie. I had an elderly great aunt who lived nearby, and I enjoyed visiting her too. No worries.
Mom was able to meet Dad in Hawaii for a little R & R. My baby brother went with her, rest of us were watched by cousins. Rest of us were jealous. It was nice when Dad came back safely, we never believed it’d be otherwise. With his return cameanother transfer, another move. The innocence of youth.
Couple years later, one of my teachers was recently married to a young pilot. I remember the heartache when we’d heard he’d been
shot down. How could that be so? He’d not been out very long and his wife was expecting their first child.
As we got older, Dad shared more of his experience in Vietnam, lots of scary stuff going on. You’d never know who was your
enemy or friend. His heart went out the the children on the streets, how little they had, the things they had to deal with
at such a young age. How thankful he was knowing we were safe and well cared for in his absence.
I’m thankful for my Dad and others who have served in our military, along with civilian support.
Photo by Vince Alongi