Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Our Veterans

Today's a day when I think back through generations of family members to all those who served our country through either the Air Force or Army.  My uncle, dad, four brothers, father-in-law; and closer to home--my wonderful husband, Nick.

We were in college when his dad showed up on campus one day, waving a long white envelope. "You've been drafted!" 

Some of you will be too young to remember or understand the meaning of a draft, but to us it meant he had to drop everything and head off to basic training, which took him several hours from home. A draft notice did not arrive with a polite RSVP.

Later, towards the end of his advanced training period, Uncle Sam presented Nick's entire batallion with a special invitation to the Vietnam war (which was officially referred to as just a "conflict").  One night shortly after receiving his 'nam orders, their unit was training in preparation for deployment. The sky suddenly lit up like fireworks, and flares began falling all around them. A militant group who had stolen and stashed weapons in the hills surrounding the military base had launched a protest by firing live rounds on our men.  Nick dove for cover, and several others followed. Unfortunately, that dive took them down a cliff, where he was badly injured.

I remember visiting him in the hospital, where he spent the next 4 1/2 months wrapped in a body cast from chest to knees. A long hook hung from the ceiling above his bed, and when he wanted to move, he would reach for it and swing himself around. It was a depressing time for him, especially as he said goodbye to all his friends who were deploying to Vietnam.

As it turned out, only a couple of his original training group survived that ugly war. 

Veteran's Day and Memorial Day are especially meaningful to us. It still bothers Nick to think of all the young men who were lost in that faraway conflict--men who had become fast friends. In the past few years, we've visited the traveling Vietnam Wall twice. Both times, Nick searched for the names of his buddies, and left copies of yellowed newspaper clippings and pictures of those young men who laid down their lives far from home and family. And yes--he has wondered through the years why God spared his life through a freak accident that prevented him from joining the others on that plane to 'nam.

We ended up spending 21 years in the military and it was a great adventure. Our children got to see regions of the world they might never have had the opportunity to visit.  When Nick received a state award last year for his military service, I was prouder than ever of his patriotism and his service.  

Over a ways to my right stood a young woman who was weeping.  Her husband had died in Iraq, and she'd received a posthumous medal for him.  I couldn't just stand there. I stepped over and silently hugged her. Sometimes words just aren't necessary.

Hug a veteran today. Thank him or her for their service.  You'd be surprised how many of them are shouldering silent burdens that nobody suspects.


  1. My hugs and prayers are with your husband and all who served or are serving. My dad is a vet. He didn't go to war, but my family has always supported our military and their families.

  2. Your blog is beautiful, Bonnie and so is the background music.
    Thanks for sharing a little of Nick’s story. That photo of the two of you is so good. Please give him a hug and thank him for his service to our country.
    God bless you both.

  3. Beautiful Bonnie. I wept as I read your words. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  4. JoJo...Sally...Sharon...
    Thank you for taking time to read Nick's story. I'm amazed that we are both sixty now, because it doesn't seem that many years ago. Life is like a big dot-to-dot. We're still connecting those dots, and grateful for the years the Lord has given us.

  5. Enjoyed reading your blog on this special Veteran's Day. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank you, Judy. So glad you stopped by.

  7. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences with us today, Bonnie. Beautiful.

  8. Hi Crystal! Always nice to see your smile show up. I hope you & yours are well. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Bonnie,

    I am teary-eyed over Nick's story.

    My husband, Jim, also, had a freak incident on base and he never went over to Nam. Later, every man in his group died before they landed. Jim would have been one of them.

    My baby brother died a few years ago from PTSS, marching as if in battle on a busy highway near Stockton, CA. He was shy of his 40th birthday. They held his funeral in Grants Pass, OR, and the turnout was amazing. Motorcycle Vets to honor Eric Neal Martinho.

    God bless all who've sacrificed so much and their families left behind.

    Thanks for such a wonderful post.

    Jean Ann

  10. God is faithful!

    Heart warming story, Bonnie.

    I wanted to thank you for your visit to my bridge. And for your kind comments.

    You have some beautiful photography here. Very talented.

    Have a blessed weekend
    Patrina <")>><
    warrior bride in boots

  11. Oh, how well I remember that time...beautifully written post, Bonnie.


So glad you stopped by!