Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I sat at the breakfast table last Sunday morning, quietly weeping as I read a newspaper article called "Bringing Michael Home." The article told of the return of Army Spc. Michael Dahl Jr's body to his hometown, after Spc. Dahl had been killed in Afghanistan. It was a sad but beautiful story. The honor given to this soldier at his passing and the support given to his family was just as it should be for those who die in the service of our country.

But I think too easily we forget that most who serve our country at home and abroad do not die in that service. Instead, they ride in a dusty armored vehicle, scanning the horizon for trouble. They work on base, quietly doing small tasks to forward the mission of the armed forces. They come home on leave, with stories to tell or not tell. They linger in VA hospitals, the young and injured beside the old and infirm.

Yes, we should give special honor to the beloved dead who died while serving. But this is not Memorial Day. This is Veteran's Day, a day to also give special honor to those who live while serving. And my small contribution to this day was to teach some of my students what it means to be a veteran.

One of the biggest regrets of Jon's life was that his eyesight wasn't good enough for him to try to become a Navy pilot. He gave serious consideration to working toward becoming a RIO and took the test for Officer Candidate School, and did very well. But, in the end, he decided to stick with education. He's never lost his love of planes, however, and our nephew Luke seems to share his fascination. I love the photo of the two of them sitting on a bench, Luke eating a snack and Jon demonstrating the job of a ball turret gunner.

1 comment:

  1. I love the shot on the right, where he's holding Luke up as he peers into the plane. Priceless.