Being raised as a kid with my dad, Ed, in the Army, much of childhood was a blur because we moved almost every 1 1/2 years.....Pennsylvania, Taiwan, Germany (3 different times), Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Colorado, Hawaii (2 times) to name a few.
Watching dad polish his gold buckle and his black shoes, while wearing his white t-shirt, shopping at the Commissary and P.X. common to our lifestyle---I never stepped foot into a Safeway until I was in college.
"Post, BOQ's, base, movies, bowling, stationed, military brat, orders, dog tags, war, soldiers, combat, g.i.'s, fatigues" were common terms we often heard.
I loved living in Germany because of the food...schnitzel, rouladen, spaetzle, bratwurst, brotchen with nutella. We were raised in an era pre internet and cable t.v., so our forms of entertainment were the playgrounds (cold metal swings, monkeybars on gravel), pools, bowling alleys and movies. Later in our teen years, we attended teen centers, gyms to play racquetball and took tae kwon do.
We mostly lived "on base" but every once in a while would live "on the economy" which means off base. I remember in Germany we lived next to a neighbor that had pigs so we would save our food scraps in the milk containers with a picture of a globe on the front and feed them.
Mom and dad used to host card parties, mom would make sandwiches and the guys would sit at the table, we would be sent off to bed.
Dad never spoke of the horrors of war, fought in Vietnam and thankfully was never injured. I've heard numerous stories of PTSD, military veterans that return missing limbs, sight or hearing.
Dad passed away with ALS, but the V.A. really took great care of him, allowing private care with a portable respirator he could use on his short visits to his own home and had military honors. His body rests at the Central Valley National Cemetery in Monterey, but I believe I will see him again in heaven.
My hope is for all that call America home, that you will reflect on today and what others have done before you to allow you to live in this amazing country we call the United States of America. Understand what a person in uniform or holding/wearing a flag really means. They are one of the lowest paid employees, have their lives disrupted frequently, yet sacrifice their lives so that we can live freely.
Whether you have served a short time or are a lifer, it's an honor to be raised amoung those who selflessly serve our country.
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