Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For All Veterans

Today is Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day in many other countries,

This holiday was originally to mark the end of World War I (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) but, now, we honor veterans of all wars. 

Normally, on Wednesdays, I blog about something seasonable.  But today, as I do on all Veterans Days, I think of my late father.

My late father suffered a traumatic brain injury during his World War II (non-combat) service, and lived with seizures and other side effects for the rest of his life.  After he came back from war he found it near impossible to find employment, a fate that too many veterans of our modern wars suffer.  For a time, he ran a newsstand with another veteran.  Finally, he found a civil service job but was never able to rise too high in the ranks, due to his disability.

When I visit a city or town, I tend to gravitate to the war memorials.  For example, back in September I visited the small village of Skaneateles, New York, on the shores of Skaneateles Lake.  They have memorials on the lakefront for their dead of all wars, from the American Revolutionary War forward.  I always scan the lists of the dead when I visit these monuments.  For some reason, I feel like I am in touch with my father, although his eventual death was not service related.

Today, I repeat my Veterans Day post of November 11, 2013, for my 11th post of NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. 

Veterans Day

Yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the untimely death of my mother.  I was raised after that point by my father, a single Dad who had to cope all the rest of his life with the aftermath of a head injury suffered (not in combat but in support) in his service in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.  I've always been aware of how badly we sometimes (well, too many times) treat our veterans here in the United States.

Today, let us all take a moment out of our busy schedules to think of those who made this day possible for us.

Our veterans, past and present, deserve our thanks, and so much more.

As you look at these monuments, please take a moment to ponder the poem at the end of this post.

These are some memorials in our area of upstate New York.  I took the Endicott photos this past August - I wish things were that green here now!

 Endicott, New York, just down Main Street from where I live.

Veterans Memorial statue.
Plaques commemorating the war dead.  An American flag is kept,fresh, on each one.

The war memorials - World War II, which my father served in (in the Army Air Force) as did one of his brothers, and one of his sisters.

The Korean War. When I grew up it wasn't a "war", it was a "police action". But the people were just as dead.
The forgotten war, Vietnam, where our dead were dishonored and our veterans were mocked - a sad thing I will never forget. Both of my next door neighbor boys (growing up in the Bronx) served in 'Nam, as did other young men I grew up with.

Binghamton - part of the Korean War monument on the Broome County courthouse lawn.

And the Revolutionary War monument, also on the Courthouse lawn.

I am not a "poetry person" (although there are a couple of poets I do enjoy) but this poem always touches my heart. Written by a Canadian soldier in 1915 upon the battle death of his friend in Flanders, Belgium, during World War I.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

8 comments:

  1. Oh, thats a moving post. Love reading about it-. how painful and yet amazing at the same time. Where would we be today without the heroic efforts of some of these men. And so strange, I wrote about my late granddad today- he was in the resistance movement in Norway during wwII -He never forgot, and neither should we.hugs

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  2. I hope you had a peaceful Veteran's Day.

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  3. Very moving post ..I don't know why so many wars are fought and so many lives are lost or destroyed... And then the veterans, I don't suppose they always get what they deserve for their supreme and selfless sacrifice..

    Nice tribute..

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  4. My post from yesterday featured that poem - a very moving piece indeed.

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  5. It's a very touching post . I wish there are more and more respect and support to the veterans. Thanks for sharing your story. Hugs!

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  6. Very touching post. I wish more respect and support is provided to the selfless heroes.Hugs!

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  7. Thank you for sharing those details. I would not have known otherwise. A thoughtful tribute to veterans.

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