Monday, November 11, 2013

A New Appreciation of Veteran's Day

I have always been a Patriot. When I was a little girl, I chose the New England Patriots as my favorite team simply because I like anything that symbolizes patriotism. My great grandfather was a veteran of WWI. My grandfather a veteran of WWII. My uncle a veteran of Vietnam. My dad is retired Air National Guard. My uncle is retired US Navy. My cousin is active Navy. I come from a long line of patriots and my love of my country and the foundations that we were built on (regardless of how skewed they have become) runs very deeply, indeed. Its why I volunteered to try to bring smiles to Wounded Warriors at the recent event I blogged about. You know, I was supposed to go in the Army... was enlisted but became pregnant a couple months prior to basic training with my son, Dakota.

Now, 21 years later, I have a new appreciation for Veteran's Day... while I missed my opportunity to serve my country because I got pregnant with my son, this year I include my son in those thanks. Where I stumbled, he has stood tall. My pride in my son's commitment and accomplishment greatly outweigh my fears and longing to see him. My son... the submariner.

Nicotye and her Son, Kota
When I post my "thank you" to vets and current military staff on social media, I have a deeper appreciation for the words I say. Too often we regurgitate sentiments from habit, no longer feeling the depth and appreciation for what the words mean. How often do you hang up a phone and, just prior to, say "I love you" as more of a closing statement than a deep and emotional sentiment? How often have I said "Happy Thanksgiving - I am thankful for my family and friends" without taking the time to really feel that appreciation? I admit that I have, in the past, often said (on Veteran's Day or anytime I see military personnel walking through an airport or something) "Thank you for your service" without really taking a moment to feel the depth of their commitment and the sacrifice that they have undertaken to benefit America.

So today, being my first Veteran's Day where I honor all of my relatives who have served, the military persons I may not ever know, and my son... today I feel the appropriate amount of gratitude and sacrifice and commitment and pride that I should always feel when I thank someone for their service. If the only sacrifice I can give to my country is through the geographic distance and frequent lapses in communication that I now have by supporting my son's decision to serve is the hardest sacrifice I have to make, I will take that sacrifice willingly over and over again...

...being a Patriot doesn't mean sitting on my laurels and taking solace in the fact that I know my Pledge and my Anthem and respect my colors... being a Patriot means you have the bravery to give what others may not be willing to give. If I could be there with my son, I would be. If I am ever needed, I will go (regardless that I'm "too old")... and no matter how I feel about whatever political environment that may be around, I will ALWAYS be a Patriot.

1 comment:

  1. Very, very well written and very true. Cody would be proud of you too :)