I want to say Happy Veteran's day to everyone that has served or is currently serving in our armed forces. I can't say enough good things about y'all and what your sacrifices do for our country. Especially to my Papa.
I remember in 8th grade we had a project where we had to interview a veteran, transcribe the interview, and then put together a book of sorts with the typed interview, any available pictures, and the audio cassettes. I interviewed my mom's dad, my Papa. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War when he was only 19. I remember sitting outside on our back patio and starting the tape. I actually think that I only asked one question during the whole thing. Turns out, this was the first time that he had opened up about his experiences there.
He just poured out his heart over the next two and a half hours, and I learned things that I never had even guessed about him. The close calls he had with death, rooming with the French Legionnaires, making his own heater for the tent, having his picture in Time Magazine (unbeknown to him at the time, it was a shot of him bathing in a river, naked). He went over what he did when he got home too. How it wasn't like the homecoming soldiers got in WWII or from Vietnam. Somewhere in between. How he worked as a mechanic down in Hollywood by the movie studios. Where he worked on James Deans' race cars and became friends with him. He called him Jimmy though. I saw my papa's wild side for the first time. He showed me pictures of him on his motorcycles, flying over the ground on them.
I never took him for granted afther that though. Never ever. I realized what a wonderful, kind, brave, and funny grandfather I had. How my family and I were so very blessed to have him.
My project ended up being sent to the D-Day Museum in New Orleans and also to the Library of Congress thanks to my teacher who to this day is still working with the museum to preserve our veteran's experiences. Pretty crazy that my grandfather's words are in such prestigious places.
So please, be thankful. Even if you don't condone war or the military, please respect that our veterans sacrificed so much for our freedoms that we often take for granted.