Carrie Leigh (carrie_leigh) wrote,
Carrie Leigh

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Veteran's Day

When Veteran's Day rolls around, it always reminds me of three things:

1. My Dad. He's a veteran of the Vietnam War.
2. That I've forgotten my Aunt's birthday yet again (not this year, though!)
3. To be profoundly and sincerely thankful for all of the men and women that have served our country to ensure my life and freedom are safe.

Whatever your opinions are about war, and the military machine in general, you still have to appreciate the sacrifice that soldiers make when they serve our country. I find that I'm especially in awe of the men who were drafted into service. I can't think of anything scarier than going into a war zone at nineteen when it's not what I was cut out for.

"This is a bride near Tic Tay {sic} village."

My daddy is one of the kindest, gentlest men I've ever met. (He's also sarcastic with a dark sense of humor - you wonder where I get it?) I cannot begin to imagine the man he was at nineteen and twenty - armed with an M-16 and following the orders of his superiors.

I've heard a lot of the funny stories about his experiences in Vietnam, and some about boot camp (namely how much he loathed his DI, and something about how the deepest, fiery pits of hell would be too good for the man), but even as I grew into adulthood, Dad never told us what it was really like; if he was scared, hungry, angry, out of his depth... I imagine it was a mixture of all of these and a sense of duty, purpose and 'please God let me live through this.'

Dad was a ground interpreter in Vietnam. He'd gone to a special intensive language school in California for six weeks before his deployment, which I'm sure in no way prepared him for the job he had when he got there. My sister and I grew up hearing a smattering of Vietnamese phrases in our childhood, some of which I know the meaning of and some of which I probably don't want to. I also learned the Marine Corps Hymn along with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Jesus Loves Me, and remember thinking it was weird that every kid in my kindergarten class didn't know that song.

U.S.M.C Photograph. The back of this picture says, "116 days: This was Christmas. I'm giving the mama san some soup mix and tried to tell her how to use it. I got just a little frustrated. See the little girl behind the old woman? Well, she's one of my favorites. Love, Jim."

It was Christmas.

I can't even begin to imagine.

My favorite

But even as a kid, though in my opinion, he looks a lot older than nineteen in these pictures, he's still got that quintessential thing that would later grow into being my father: A soft spot a mile wide. Especially for kids.

I can't think of anyone else that could ever measure up to my dad. He's one of my favorite people in the whole world, one of the only ones I can talk to for hours about nothing at all, and a hell of a good man. Even though he's computer-impaired and will probably not see this unless my Aunt forces him to sit in front of the screen, I want everyone to know how proud I am that he's a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, that he played his part in keeping our nation safe, and that he survived it all to become my dad.

Love you lots, Daddy. Happy Veteran's day.
Tags: dad, picture, thanksgiving

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