Today we take time to honor the veterans who served in the military to help protect our right of freedom. My list of people to thank and remember, is long, but it always starts with my dad, a World War II veteran, who served in the Navy and was stationed on Iwo Jima. I remember seeing his pictures from there and hearing his tales about his time during the war. As a young kid, I didn't quite grasp the seriousness and danger of it all -- but as an adult, I treasure my memories of his story-telling.
While most of those pix got lost in the shuffle of moving, I savor the few things I have of his from that time, including a few letters he wrote to my aunt (his younger sister) with his cartoon drawings and handwritten stories. I imagine that the cartoons were his way of trying to lighten what was a very serious period in his life. In my mind, my dad was a hero.
I am a bit late in posting an entry today, because for the first time in my writing life, I find myself at a loss of words. You see, over the years, I have had many vets share this journey with me. Sadly, many, as very young men, lost their lives in Viet Nam. Boys I hung out with, studied with, surfed with and mostly laughed with, gone in what still seems like a bad dream. While the years have passed my memories of them are alive and well; and, it is with this thinking that I remember and honor their service in a time that was nothing short of confusing.
Last year as a way of honoring the disabled vets around the country, I created the "In Honor of Disabled American Veterans" red, white and blue bracelet shown here. A percentage of each sale is donated to the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Fund. While the gift is small, it comes from the heart of everyone who wears the bracelet. You can learn more about the Fund and learn a bit about Kenny and Diane Musselmann, my inspiration for making this bracelet last year, by clicking here. It is my hope, that in wearing the bracelet, you have the opportunity to share the story of the millions of American vets living with disabilities every day as you respect and honor all that they do.
I struggle today, looking for the right words to say. Somehow "thank you" seems trivial compared to the lives they gave. But -- it is heartfelt and true; and it is my hope that it is taken as such. I hope you will take time, not just today, but every day of every year to remember and thank all of the veterans and their families who continue to serve this country.