Every Veteran’s Day, I think about my daddy. Not because he is an Army Vet, but because I know, and lived, what being a soldier can do to a man. In my heart, I thank our soldiers today for their service & sacrifice, because I know from experience that they sacrifice, and serve.
I am 44, so I was a baby during the Vietnam era. My daddy was a soldier, and was gone for a good part of my toddler years. He came back from Vietnam a changed man. Loyal to his troop, angry, broken, devasted, heart broken, tough, knowing how to kill a man with his bare hands. He cried at night in his sleep, had nightmares all time, and broke out in fits of anger and pure paranoia at any hour of the day.
I remember like it was yesterday, seeing my daddy fall into fits, and change into a complete stranger within seconds. He would wake up, and throw a king sized, wooden bed (that took 5 large men to carry) up against a wall as barrier. He slept with a loaded gun beside his bed (until the day he died), and one day I stood in the hall forever, right outside his bedroom door. I was only about 8 years old. I was going to my room, on the opposite side of the hall. My father was sleeping, he sensed me, but did not know it was me, and said “STOP RIGHT THERE, OR I’LL SHOOT!” in his sleep. I stopped. I already knew then that there was something wrong with my dad, but I did not understand until I was an adult, and he told me the heart breaking stories of the things he saw, did, and experienced.
Over the years, our family deteriorated under the pressure, my daddy drank away the memories, and the war was in our lives & home every day. I remember being a teenager when I found the letters he wrote to my mom from Vietnam. I also found pictures of my dad with a little Asian girl, and a dog. Both were killed to retaliate against my father, and he always knew who did it. Until the day he died, my daddy mistrusted those who were supposed to have his back, and anyone who digs deep in a soldiers soul will know why.
My daddy has passed away, but on Veteran’s Day I remember him in a special way. I am astonished by the fact that on Veteran’s Day, people play up the “Thank Yous” to our soldiers, instead of honoring them and thanking them every day. They sacrifice more for our freedom than you know. I am happy that my daddy never has to see protesters (often in the name of God) at a soldier’s funeral, they make my stomach turn. I detest video games like Call of Duty, because aside from the fact that they let you think you can kill without consequence, they also will never let you experience the true fear, heartbreak, and bullshit a real soldier faces daily.
My daddy, and am I sure thousands of other veterans, will never forget what they experienced in war. To all those out there today, giving their opinions on social media on soldiers, war, etc, especially those who watch from the comfort of their “free” homes, I hope this gives you another perspective. We should all make sure our soldiers, and their families, are taken care of in every way. Take a look what is really going on, what the media feeds you, and then your next “Thank you” to a soldier will be heart felt & true.