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my favorite veteran

When I was a kid and a Girl Scout, we lined up on East Court Street in our uniforms to march in the Veteran's Day parade. I didn't have a clue what it was all about then, except for an escape from school for a day. Some leader or another would line us all up and march us down the street towards court square where "important people" talked about life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

My daddy was a supply man in the USAF, stationed in Shreveport Louisiana and the Azore Islands during the early fifties. I remember poring over his keepsake book when I was a child, trying to decipher the language of Portugal. He was a farmer by then, a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in agricultural science and busy delivering calves in his "spare" time.

Every time we gather as a family for a holiday, he prays for those in the service who are far away from their families on the special day. We all hold hands now, knowing that sacrifice for one's country is always noble but not always necessary. Once, as a Sunday school teacher in my Vietnam era class, he asked the question "Why?" Why did you all raise such hell about that war? Was it not essential to our freedom as Americans?

I don't have an answer to that question. I know that the casualties were astronomical in more ways than one, and that nothing much was accomplished by our occupation there. It wasn't Normandy or Iwo Jimo or anything close. But there were heroes as there always are. Their names are carved on a wall that serves as a reminder to Americans that war is hell.

I salute you, Daddy. ^j^
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