Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why we applaud our Veterans

*I would like to apologize for the size of the letters. Blogger is being difficult. Please bear with me.

I am taking over Heidi's blog for a moment. I've been feeling compelled to write about an experience on the 4th of July that stuck with me and made me ponder about some things. Before I do so, it was a wonderful holiday. Heidi planned out most of the details and it was great.

We were in Couer d'Alene for the holiday. Part of the morning consisted of me taking the girls over to see the parade. It was the kind of parade that I remember in my youth and what I consider all small town parades to be like. It had all of the usual characters: politicians kissing babies, strange obscure community groups, public servants (firefighters, police officer, etc.), current serving military, and Veterans. The later going first of course.

As each veteran group passed by, the crowd erupted into well deserved and appropriate applause. All throughout the parade, there was a Canadian woman there with her two children about the same age as my girls that was talking the entire time, explaining the purpose of each and every group.

The first thing that struck me as odd during this interchange was that the kids didn't understand what veterans were or why they were important. Her response is what stuck with me for the last few days, festering just below the surface.

"Americans are really into their Army and Navy. They seem to think they are important."

SEEM . . .

"They like their military and like to celebrate the people who did actual fighting. In Canada, we don't have a very big military and they aren't very important. Americans just seem to like the people who fight."

. . .

I was floored. In the moment, I didn't know what to say. I'm rather glad I didn't because it wouldn't be my usual pleasant toned and subdued sort of statement. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Veterans not important, the tone of Americans being unsophisticated, violence-mongering people, on the 4th of July!

How could someone from a country which has a history of not being afraid of pitching in and defending freedom (For those of you who don't know, Canadian forces were part of the Normandy invasion in WWII. They took Juno Beach.) show so little regard for the sacrifices of others on her behalf? I want to go on the record that I do NOT believe her view points reflect the general attitude of all Canadians regarding veterans and military personnel, but how can you be so ignorant and raise your children to be ignorant.

Growing up it is practically part of your DNA here in the states to honor and respect veterans and definitely be aware of who they are and why they are important. My daughters are 10 and 8 and they understand why we applaud during parades.

  • Over 230 years ago, citizens cared about their freedom and their families enough to do what amounted to high treason against the crown. They were willing to sacrifice and fight to protect them. We thank them.
  • In many unfortunate opportunities since then, the men and women of our military have been called upon to defend our freedom and the freedom of others who cannot defend themselves. We thank them.
  • The sacrifices of our servicemen/women are not counted in just putting their lives on the line being willing to die for us. They sacrifice their families by being away from them, not being able to celebrate birthdays of spouses and children, having their loved ones worry about their safety, or being damaged in some sort of long term way. I live 10 miles from Fairchild Air Force Base and, as you can imagine, many of my neighbors are stationed at the base. Abbey's friend has a dad who is a pilot. He was sent away for a 12 month mission over Afghanistan. Another friend of ours is stationed in Korea for 9 months. He was able to get special permission to come home on 2-day leave for the birth of their baby and then go back. He is missing out on something great. They do it for their families and they do it for us. Josh, Helenor's dad, all of our neighbors who serve, we thank you.
  • Within our families we see the sacrifices that are made in the cause of freedom through our military. I have a few cousins who currently serve or have recently. Pilots, information gatherers, soldiers. Phillip, Andy, and the rest, I thank you.
  • Many have family members who have already served. I have an Uncle who served as an officer in the Air Force for many years. They had to uproot for each duty reassignment. He did it willingly. One of my grandfathers was a carpenter by trade. He served the Navy during WWII repairing beaten and battered warships to send them back out into battle. Larry and Grandpa, I thank you.
  • My own father is a Vietnam era Veteran. His draft card came in the first few months of his and my mother's marriage. Instead of taking a cowards way out as some did at the time by dodging the draft, he did his duty and helped to protect the freedom of others. He served in the Navy on a submarine. He served on both a fast attack boat and "boomer" keeping our enemies at bay. 3 months out, 2 to 4 weeks in. During his 8 years of service, he would only be home for about 1.7 of those years. That's 6.3 years of his newly married life sacrificed at sea. My brothers' and sister's birthdays, watching them grow up, holidays, anniversaries, the newlywed time of marriage sacrificed. I am very proud of my dad. His decision was difficult, but he did what was right. Thank you Dad.

We celebrate our servicemen and women, not because we like a good fight, but because someone is willing to sacrifice time, energy, families, and in some cases their lives for our sake and for the sake of freedom. We honor them whenever we can and do so with the respect and reverence that such sacrifices deserve. Maybe it is part our DNA as Americans.

I realize that she won't be reading this blog, but in the slimmest of chances that she ever does I want this to be here so that she can understand the real reason we will ALWAYS applaud our veterans during a parade and that maybe she can correct her flawed viewpoints and the miseducation of her children.


Jan said...

Wow, just wow. I can't even begin to thank you for standing up for our vets. This woman will hopefully never have to face a terrorist attack in her country, or have her child under attack.

But if ever there was a time that she needed someone to defend their country - if they are raising their children to think this way, I would be scared to think that no one would be brave enough to defend their own country with that attitude.

Of course they always want our help when they need it. USA, always there to help out others.

Melanee said...

Here! Here!

I completely agree. I have always stood when military passes by in a parade. I even have those surrounding me stand and we applaud too. I have had some family servicemen and many family and close friends serving now. It scares me to see how much their families are sacrificing too, just to see that we are safe.

We are protecting others, in the interest that it protects us in the long run.

I hate the spin that the media puts on our veterans and the work that they are doing. It drives me crazy some days.

But I will stand beside them and support them in any way that I can!

Lisa said...

Well said, Jeff, well said.

Brooke said...

Very well written, indeed. Ignorant is the perfect word to use in order to explain the woman's actions and words- I feel sorry for her daughters.

Thank you, Jeff.

Terri said...

Thank you for standing up for the folks who stand for the rest of us. Very nice post! :)

Jones Crew said...

Thanks Jeff (and Heidi)!!!! It really does make it easier to send him when I know that people appreciate it. I am glad I wasn't there! I don't look very pretty when involved in a cat fight, LOL!!!

SuzanSayz said...

Jeff I am overcome with the beauty of this post.
I agree with you all the way.
So many of those service men have given their lives in a different way.

The Military Mental hospitals are filled with those veterans who went to war and faced such atrocities that they were never sound of mind again.

Talk about the ultimate sacrifice to go to war to defend our people and to end up with a scrambled brain because of it.

I hope that people remember those veterans as well. They may not have literally lost their lives, but isn't losing your mind just as horrible?

I have so much respect for those brave men and women.
They all deserve our respect as well as our recognition.

Jeanette said...

Here Here. {Said as I am clapping and cheering} Great post.

LKP said...

ok, from the wife of a vet---> thank you for your gratitude. i can't tell you what it does for vets like my seth to know there are still people out there who understand that freedoms don't come free.
oh another note, thanks for the mustache comment....couldn't help but giggle & giggle & giggle! trying to imagine you with the horseshoe mustache was TOO much! =) have a great friday!

LKP said...

p.s. birthday party day after tomorrow, yeah? good luck with all of it! =)

andrea said...

Jeff- I couldn't agree with you more- and I'm Canadian .. a very proud Canadian with deep deep roots on one side of my family and first generation born here on the other .. My grandfathers both fought hard for their countries in WW2, my great grandfather died in World War One, my dad was a reservist - it goes on and on ...
The first poem that totally touched me was "Dulce et Decorum est" about the naivity of the youth believing war was glorius and good. I don't think war is good .. however I am very proud of the veterans from all countries who defend their beliefs and keep me safe ...My cousin has served two tours in Iraq and was badly wounded in one; many of my friends and former students have served in Afganistan

I am really upset by the first comment through particularly this bit:
"if they are raising their children to think this way, I would be scared to think that no one would be brave enough to defend their own country with that attitude.

Of course they always want our help when they need it. USA, always there to help out others."

I adore your blog so won't pick this apart but anybody who can take ONE woman's comments and turn it into a "them" statement needs a lesson on generalizations :(

thanks for your post - I would have been upset too.

David said...

are my clicks helping you? we need to get ourselves to $100 and collect our paychecks!

LaNae said...

Right on Jeff!!!! We love our veterans in Spokane area.

Kristin said...

I love this post. I often think of the quote that all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. I worry that too many people nowadays do nothing.

As to the Eph Hanks connection, we're from the first wife - Harriett Decker - through her son Perry Isaac Hanks.

Kristin said...
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