Veteran’s Day was just a random day off from school or work. I never really put it all together and realized what it stood for. I have to admit I was one of those Americans that took our freedom for granted and was self absorbed in my own life. 9/11 made an impact on me like it did everyone watching that day, but I still didn’t get it.
Then my grandpa passed away. A veteran himself. He was buried at the Florida National cemetary. It truly affected me. Seeing all those stones,watching the rifles being raised in the air and listening to the anthem of a fallen soldier; impacted my life in a way I never expected. I grew stronger, but I also grew more patriotic and selfless.
I still have a veteran in my life. My 94-year-old Grandaddy. He is going to be 95 in a month. He still lives on his own, walks around fine with the help of a cane here and there and loves his rum. And like I told my Mom “if he’s not streaking down the neighborhood, what’s the harm, he’s 95 years old.” He can hold a conversation about anything from politics to sports or just life in general. And he still tells some funny jokes and loves to get under my Mom’s skin. He is slowing down a bit, but not too much.
I can’t even imagine what all he has seen in his life. But he has always stayed true to who he was, what was right and what was wrong. When we lost my grandmother, it was tough on both of us. But the conversation I remember the most was when I asked him if he would ever remarry. See all of my grandmother’s brothers would up and remarry a few years after their wives died. So me being 12, thought this was the normal thing to do. Until I heard my Grandaddy’s response, he said, “No I could never replace the love of my life. Your Grandma was it for me.” That has stayed with me for my entire life. And that was what I wanted and eventually found.
See these two amazing men stepped up for me as father figures and shaped and molded me into who I am today. And I am so proud to call them the veterans I love. They served our country, kept us protected and gave us our freedom. Not because they had to or wanted to but because it was the right thing to do. My grandfather’s are military to the core. And for that I thank them and all veterans for everything they have given us. Because remember some gave all and there are no amount of words to express our thanks for that.