Every year, on the Sunday closest to Veteran's Day, the pastor will ask that those who have served in the military stand up and be acknowledged and thanked at the beginning of the worship service. Whenever this happens, my dad is one of the last ones to stand, and, if you know him well enough to read his face, it says "reluctance".
You see, he says he doesn't feel like he really served. Not like his brother, who, as an Army clerk had to interview and sort out the people being released from the Nazi prison camps, and try to help them find their missing family members, or inform them of their deaths. Not like his young uncle, who spent three years fighting his way across North Africa and up the Italian peninsula. Not like another uncle who was a WWI flying ace over France. Dad was a dentist in the Air Force, stationed safely on a training base in Wyoming, post-Korean Conflict. He doesn't think he deserves any special recognition for that.
I do. Imagine this scenario: You have worked and struggled to get through college and dental school with no money to speak of, you're married, and you are looking forward to getting out and starting your practice and having a family. A military recruiter comes to the dental school and says "We have dentists who served all the way through WWII, and then were called back up for Korea. We need to let them out. We're going to be drafting all of you to replace them. If you really want to choose your service branch, you might as well enlist, because you're going into the military either way."
So Dad enlisted in the Air Force. He served two years of active duty, and quite a few more in the Reserves. He never complained about it, he never resented being told he had to serve. He just did it. I can't imagine people doing this so willingly now, can you? We were all glad to see the draft go away, and an all-volunteer military is a great thing in so many ways, but we did lose something with that change. We lost the idea that citizenship isn't always convenient.
I think he should stand up and be recognized for accepting that inconvenience, don't you?
So, today, I'm thanking him, and all the other veterans, for their sacrifice to their country.
The November 30 Day Thankgiving Challenge.