When I was growing up, my fathers' friends didn't talk about their service in World War II - it ended only a few years before. They were unwilling to share their stories, because there were, as they said, others who did, and gave much more. It wasn't until many years later that I learned of their exploits and heroic actions.
I grew up, politically, in the Vietnam era. I knew young men who served, and died, in 'Nam. I marched on Washington. I protested and wore the bracelet of a MIA. My brother was ROTC in Georgetown U, and by luck, was stationed in Europe instead of Vietnam.
My stepson first went to Iraq under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 under President Clinton, and then again in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I learned how to pray every single day.
Back in May my friend, Peter T, made a joke that I was ignoring him as I passed him by as we were getting ready to march in the Cheshire Memorial Day parade. When I came back, I told him I had to say hello to my veteran friends - my best friend's dad who had just turned 94 and my vet friends who have volunteered for Cheshire Interfaith Housing for so many years, giving to others after all these years that they have given to their country.
I can't say, after all these years, when I realized how much I owe to all those who have served and have given their lives for this country. But I know I will always be grateful, and will always thank those who have served in any way, for our country.