Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans Day

I've pondered on what to say all day. Like some people, I had today off. Like most of them, there was no parade for me to go to. Our small town doesn't have a parade on Veterans Day. Like most people with the day off, I worked anyway, catching up on all the things that you have to let go around the house when you both work.

It's nearing the start of winter here in North Carolina, such as it will be. So I got up on the roofs and checked them out and cleaned the gutters. From the roof, I have a good view of the cemetery that's across the way.

This year, the cemetery staff have erected two big crosses, made up of small American flags planted in the ground. I know there are a lot of veterans buried in that cemetery. I've walked through there often, and last Memorial Day I helped place flags on the grave of every veteran.

But today, I checked roofs, cleaned gutters and picked up the leaves. There was no ceremony at the cemetery. My kids were off from school; they helped with the work. They don't really understand why Veterans Day is a holiday. Oh, they understand it in a kid's way--"It's a day we say thank you to veterans".

But they don't understand it the way our veterans do. Even though there's a war on, it hasn't effected them. Hopefully, it'll be over before it does. My son will be 18 in 9 years. Old enough to vote; old enough to go to war. Old enough to die for his country, if necessary.

I never had to do any of those things. My father did, as a member of the 9th Armored Division in World War II. He's talked about it some, but not much. I guess it's hard to explain if you weren't there.

As I worked in the yard, I watched the cars pass. Every time I saw an older man, I wondered if he'd been in World II, or Korea, or Vietnam. The ones my age, I wondered about Grenada and Panama. Younger guys, I wondered about Desert Storm and the current war.

And I offered up a silent little prayer for those in harm's way, and those who have been in harm's way. And for those who never made it back, and who sleep in the cemetery across the way.

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