This event was hosted by a local hospice center in cooperation with the Veteran's Administration. Two VA liaisons and former veterans themselves hosted the presentation. They spoke briefly of their experiences in Afghanistan and the Gulf war and then opened the floor to the WWII vets to share whatever they wanted.
My dad was the first one on his unsteady feet. He spent two years on the U.S.S. New York and was elated to attend the commissioning of the new U.S.S. New York ship in New York city a few years ago. The new ship included 7.5 tons of steel from the rubble of the World Trade Center towers.
|Dad with the commander of the new U.S.S. New York in '09|
Dad shared a bit about being a medic and how important it was to him to be a part of the Navy at that time. Another fellow spoke, and then another. No one spoke very long, just a few words like:
"It was hard."
"I'm glad it's over."
This generation of men is a stoic, non-whiny group. They served because it was the right thing to do. They didn't question it, and they didn't complain.
The liaisons also honored the wives of the vets. One wife spoke about how the military screened all the mail coming home at that time, and she used to get letters from her husband with sentences and words blacked out. She pieced together the messages anyway. She said she understood the bigger mission of protecting everyone involved.
The most touching part of the event was when the liaisons asked if any women residents had been active duty. My mom's thin, 92-year old hand rose. The only one in the room. She had served the Navy for two years in the field of intelligence. She then added, "I was just a secretary, but our work was classified. We knew where all the ships were."
She mentioned that one colleague, by mistake, had sent a message for several ships to return to Pearl Harbor. She then shook her head, implying those ships were likely lost in the attack to come.
It was quite a journey down memory lane for these veterans and the visitors listening. We don't regularly think of the warriors who've fought before us unless we set aside time to do so.
Every veteran was given an American flag pin and a salute. I was not fast enough with the camera to catch the salute given my father, but here are the liaisons honoring my mom.
Mom receives her pin.
More words of gratitude were given, and then a blessing was bestowed on those who served.
|My patriotic Dad|
|The WWII-ers with my handyman, who was career Air Force|
It was all so touching.
And then, there was cake.
Love the image!
I'm a softie for veterans and dessert.
Thanks to all who have served, or are serving. I pray, when you are 80+, you, too, receive a salute and some cake. It's the least we can do.