My paternal grandmother saw three of her four sons sign up and go off to fight in World War II. My maternal grandmother saw all three of her precious sons drafted in the early 1950’s during the Korean War. Several of my male cousins, including my older brother, served and some died in the Vietnam war. Those who came home were changed forever, but their parents stood proud, supportive of their sons’ service.
When the draft ended in January of 1973, many mothers (and fathers) rested easy; their sons could choose to serve or not. Even with that freedom, some of my family, both women and men, have joined the US service and made it their careers. We are proud of their patriotism and selflessness.
My youngest joined the Marines during his senior year and in June of 1999, just weeks after graduating from high school, he went off to boot camp.
He made a studied decision and though I cried about it, when it came time to drive him to the drop off point, he deserved my respect and loyalty. He was a grown man and would always have my undying love.
From that day forward, I “had his six.”
He was deployed in 2001, 2003, and 2010, and with each deployment I noticed increased differences in him, so when someone disrespects the flag, trashes this country, and encourages divisiveness, my patriotism comes to the fore. There are those who do not understand the immense sacrifice our military gives to create and keep this country safe.
For every problem, every injustice, every failing we see in this country, let’s work toward solutions and honor the sacrifice millions have made to ensure the survival of this country.