On this Veteran's Day I'm thinking about the courage it takes to stand in harms way. Whether one volunteers or is drafted into service, regardless of how someone ends up on the battlefield, it takes an immesurable amount of bravery to stay there.
I grew up in a veteran's house. My dad was 29 and the father of a one year old, with a baby on the way, when he volunteered for the army. After 6 weeks of training he ended up landing on D-Day and spending the next 11 months walking and fighting his way through Europe, ending in Germany. He was literally my hero when I was a child, and even more so when I became an adult and understood what he had endured.
As an adult, I am still amazed at what a caring man he was after living through war. I understand combat changes people and sometimes wonder what dad would have been like had he not volunteered. Either way, I am sure his core values would be the same, but one has to view the world differently after combat.
When I think about what it must feel like to be in battle, I'm not sure I would be brave. Sometimes walking down a dark deserted street alone scares me, so how would it feel to be in a battle, to watch people that I know die before my eyes? It's actually unimaginable to me, which is why I have such respect for veterans. Regardless of the politics of how they eneded up on that battlefield, the fact that veterans are brave enough to step up and protect the rest of us leaves me thankful and in awe.
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