RSS Feed

Veteran’s Day

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 in Army wife

My husband, father, brother, and uncles all served in the military. Yet it’s hard for me to identify much with Veteran’s Day. Hab Moo has the day off and that’s all the celebrating we’re doing. I don’t recall anyone in the family making a big deal of it. The holiday has always seemed like a day just for old men who missed their identity as soldiers.

It should amount to more. Serving in the military isn’t anything I’d want to do, but nations do need defensive and offensive capabilities. So I’m glad someone is willing to do it. Probably the best way to celebrate the day is to give quick, reliable and friendly service to all those so used to waiting around, and getting one set of direction to be replaced by a new set to be replaced again by yet another set of orders. And soldiers are always willing to accept a thank you for their service.

I’m having a hard time writing this post. I have conflicted feelings about the military. I hate the fact that it jerks my husband around. I hate the fact that they require him to be away from home so often. But I’m glad they have separation pay. And they are making my lack of full-time employment a lot easier on us. I like watching friends and family talk to Hab Moo about his experiences. It’s great that people buy him lunch every so often when he’s in uniform. But it’s still uncomfortable somehow.

I think I may have picked up some of my father’s messed up emotions about serving in WWII. He didn’t talk much about it, but when he was dying he talked about how he still resented not getting a promised promotion. I think he was proud of the work he did and he believed in what he was doing. He also lost companions, missed out on time with two kids and a wife, and endured a lot of physical discomfort. I think he just wanted to put it all behind him. I knew not to ask him much about his experiences.

Then my husband goes to war and we chat online every day and he suffers through sitting around and from a short-term lack of onion rings. I know that in other wars, some soldiers served their time away from the front lines and danger, but those stories never got told in books or film so it’s as if they didn’t exist. I feel like there’s no real story for soldiers today. The wars are too complicated or maybe the stories can’t be told until the conflicts are over or resolved somehow. Except for getting married two days before Hab Hoo left for his deployment, I don’t feel like we have any real story either.

I don’t even feel like the nation knows that their are men and women serving overseas. Maybe it’s because I’m in Minnesota, far from any large bases. I only know a small handful of others with loved ones serving. No one is growing a victory garden. Very few people are protesting. It’s like soldiers are custodians that are easily ignored. It’s not pleasant to think about the person who is going to clean the toilet you just used and it’s not pleasant to think of the person in Afghanistan trying to clean up that mess either.

The only times I’ve really seen veterans honored has been at pow-wows and rodeos. Then I have to fight back tears.

At all other times I’d rather not pay attention even though I know several people currently in Iraq or who have had at least one deployment. I’d rather talk with them about their cars than about their service. It’s awkward. If they weren’t in the shit then what is there to talk about. And if they were in the shit, then that’s too uncomfortable to talk about.

So I guess I’ll end by just saying that I do appreciate soldier’s service. And I appreciate what those left at home go through. I have no clue what it’s like to lose a loved one to a recent war or conflict, but I do grieve for such loses until the point I think about the soldiers I know and then I rush away from that grief.

I think I will refrain from apologizing for celebrating by doing nothing more than going to a Veteran’s Day sale. I mean that’s partially why we fight, right? To keep the American way of life and what’s more American than shopping at a chain store? Soldiers fight for those who are oblivious as well as for those who are actively engaged.

One more thing, though. I’m linking to an article written by a Gold Star Mother who challenges us all to pay more attention and take real action on this day: Veterans Day: Not for Sale. You should pay more attention to her than to this confused woman.

Leave a Comment