Friday, November 11, 2011

They Offer Everything

Local Veterans 
I grew up a half an hour from Pearl Harbor.  There are bunkers in the mountains all over the island and military bases peppered everywhere.  As a child I was often mistaken for a military kid.  Why else would a caucasian girl live in the most local place on the island?  Kole Kole pass in the Waianae Mountains on the coast where I lived was the place US radar first spotted the attacking planes on December 7, 1941.  History was all around us growing up there, but it wasn't until later in life that I really understood the gravity of the sacrifices made on that day.

I remember walking on Schofield military base with my brother one time when we were children.  We were there for some sort of event and we were amazed that these military families had houses.  We grew up in a 2 bedroom condo, so that seemed pretty impressive.  I remember seeing a light come on in my brother's eyes and I wondered if one day he'd be a soldier too.

Danny did end up becoming a soldier right after high school, but I don't think it was for the housing.  He was a single guy, and he joined the Hawaii National Guard not long after 9/11.  Danny has always been fiercely loyal and caring, and I think he wanted a chance to look after the people of His country.  He ended up being deployed for a year to the Kuwait.  Not long after our youngest brother Matt felt he should goin too. He was eventually also deployed to the Iraq and Kuwait two different times becoming the gunner in a humvee guarding convoys of delivery trucks all through that war torn region.

The Star Spangled Banner
My brothers were in a place where their life was actually placed in such a place of vulnerability for mine.  It was only then that I really began to understand that the houses and other benefits the military receives are only meager offerings compared to what they offer for us.  Every day I heard news of bombings and prayed they didn't say anything related to the areas my brothers were in or the jobs they were doing.  I can only imagine how it felt to my mother, to wives and to children of soldiers.

Today is Veteran's day.  We went in to the local parade, even though the rain made for miserable weather.  I thought of the World War II veterans who would be there, even in their old age.  I remembered a WWII veteran telling me that they were dying at the rate of over 1000 per day.  If they could fly through gunfire, parachute into harm's way, sustain emotional and physical trauma for people they did not know, surely standing in the rain to honor them was the tiniest thing we could do.  Thank you veterans.

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