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Nov 11, 2007

Thoughts on Veteran's Day


It used to be that Veteran's Day was a day that I thought of as one set aside to remember all those who died and served in WWI and WWII. After Viet Nam, it seemed the country was loathe to include all who served and died in the Viet Nam Conflict. (Conflict my ass, it was a war to those who were there.) Then I remembered all who served in the Korean conflict, mostly after becoming friends with a man who drank like a fish, and talked about how he had never been so cold as when he was in Korea. We who have not served can never know what sights our veterans have witnessed. We can never understand the quiet courage with which they meet each day, as they try to reconcile memories and the action they have faced. Now we have a new crop of Veterans, again our youngest and bravest.




To all those who have served our country, through peace and war, I thank you, as a citizen and as a Gold Star Mother. Whether we have supported our countries involvement in wars and conflicts, we must give our humble thanks to those who spent time in service to our nation. Let us be proud of our servicemen and women, always.




On April 2, 2007, the issue of Newsweek Magazine featured an article called "Voices of the Fallen". On the front cover you see words written in a serviceman's handwriting.


As Jon Meacham writes,























"The handwriting on this week's cover belongs to Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis L. Youngblood, who was deployed to Iraq in March 2005. The full sentence, from a letter Youngblood wrote his wife, Laura, reads: "I have accepted the fact that any day I'm here could be the day I die"--words that reflect a courageous fatalism about his mission and its possible price. And the day he had contemplated did come, on Thursday, July 21, 2005, when he was killed in action. He was 26 years old."




This Veteran's Day, I remember my son, at rest in Arlington National Cemetary. He did not write such letters to me. I have been told he did leave a last letter to me that he hadn't mailed, but I was never given the letter, as I was not the next of kin. I try to understand why he did not voice these thoughts to me, but then I remember perhaps it was something he would not share with his mother. Perhaps such deep-felt honesty and revelations are more suited to the most important person in his life, his wife. I cherish our last conversation, about three weeks before he died. That I will always have.























I wish more fervently, than anyone who has not lost a child can imagine, it had been me instead. But, I thank you Travis, for your courage, convictions, and humanity, as you fought to save lives, those of your beloved Marines, Iraqi citizens, and even enemy soldiers. Though my tears will not bring you back, I know that some day I will touch your most precious face again. Perhaps I did not fully agree with your reasons for going to Iraq, but I will never undermine your strong beliefs and convictions. God bless you, my son.




Please let us all take time this day to honor our Veterans. For they are worthy.

14 comments:

alphonsedamoose said...

Deb: What a truly amazing tribute. Not just to your son but to all who serve or have served. We owe them so much.

BRUNO said...

This one hurt my old heart-strings just a little! But I mean that in a positive way! And what a lasting tribute, to be a part of PRINTED history. I'd put that cover right next to his pictures, and make damned certain to point out those are HIS quoted words!

I lost all track of the times that a Navy Corpsman pulled a Marines' ass out of the grinder. I, and WE, owe them all a personal salute, both past and present....

Babzy said...

Hope you're doing okay today, Deb. Take care.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Hello Deb

Saying thank you for your post seems insignificant when I should really be saying thank you to your son and would if he were here.

I especially appreciate all the Gold Star Mothers and those who blog their experiences. We all get a better insight into how they are processing the loss of a son or daughter.

As you probably know, writing on this topic can be cathartic but a lot of work emotionally. My cousin is a Gold Star Mom and she lost her 20 year old son in Januaru 2005 in Iraq. For Veteran's Day this year, I interviewed her for one of my blog posts. I wanted to honor my cousin Kenny and all the others in Iraq for their sacrifices. If you are interested the post is at http://destinationaustinfamily.blogspot.com/2007/11/kennys-choice-veterans-day-tribute.html.

Stick with your writing and blogging - tell Travis' story as well as your own.

Queenie said...

My words can never express how your words have made me feel.
((((((((HUGS)))))))))

just me said...

Thank you all for your comments. Bruno, I was not aware of the Newsweek Magazine until I was doing a Google search for new articles or pictures on other web sites about Travis. One would think they could have given me a heads up.

Mary said...

I am sad that you don't get the respect you deserve as Travis' mother. My heart goes out to you. I hope people will see this and have a little freaking consideration for the absolute heartbreak a mother goes through.

just me said...

Oh, Mary, too often in this country the fallen become the forgotten, or, as the general theme runs now, they all are being branded as hired killers by the Bush regime. I think we should remember that the servicemen and women did not make the decision to invade Iraq.

Travis always said don't watch the news, because even he could see that it was slanted against the troops. Rarely if ever do we see something positive about the troops in Iraq. And, regardless of what anyone says, there have been times when they have helped the Iraqi people. But now, their work is done. They need to come home. Now. Today. Period.

Spadoman said...

In honoring Veterans, we honor ALL that gave to their country, their community and their family. There is no doubt that the Mothers and Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, ALL family and friends and those that loved the Veteran are remembered for their sacrifices as well as the ultimate sacrifice made by the Veterans themselves.

ALL gave some, some gave ALL.

Peace to ALL.

Woozie said...

Very well put. I don't know what else to say.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I was thinking of you and your boy today. I was going to email you--thank you for this post.

BRUNO said...

I'm sorry---I thought you were maybe at least second in line to get a copy. That's just not right. I apologize for "jumpin' the gun".

I honestly WOULD order myself a reprint from the publisher---and cherish it in my own mind. Someday, someone will see it again---and remember to never forget, again.

Besides, Newsweek just might want to do a follow-up. Wouldn't THAT be a nice tribute---from his mother, of course...

SpongyBones said...

Deb, every morning when I awake I think of the gift that you and your son gave to me. I take this persoanlly. Yesterday I thought of you and wished that I was closer so that I could hug you.

With respect,
Chad

Mary said...

You are such a strong and admirable woman.