---Thanks to Joseph Walker
My son-in-law Brock doesnít talk a lot about his three tours
of duty in
This is partly because Brock isnít much of a talker.† His words are in his soul, and they emerge powerfully in his poetry.† But he isnít one to blather and brag.† If you ask him a direct question he will give you a direct answer.† But it will be straight, true and honest, with no frills or embellishments Ė unlike his father-in-law, who never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
But there are other reasons Brock isnít inclined to talk
much about his service in
Every once in a while, however, these feelings come bubbling
to the surface Ė or at least, very near to the surface.† Like last week, for example.† News of the tragedy at
In a way, I think I understood what he was feeling.† But in another way, I donít know that I ever really can.† I came of age at a time when military service was something that you avoided.† We were fighting in an incredibly unpopular war.† Returning veterans were not celebrated Ė indeed, many of them were criticized and castigated for their service.† It was a painful time in our nationís history, and a time when Ė for many of us Ė military service was simply not an acceptable option.
So thereís a big part of an entire generation Ė the Greatest
Generationís babies Ė who donít fully get it when it comes to Veteranís
Day.† We were too young to remember the
service of our fathers during World War II and the Korean conflict, and we
became eligible for military service at a time when people were burning their
draft cards and heading off to
So we didnít.† We went to college, we got jobs, we joined the Peace Corps, we did missionary work for our respective churches Ė but we never experienced the military.† Which is probably why we get a little nervous when our children talk about enlisting.† Or why we get a little embarrassed when old guys stand and salute the flag as it passes by at the head of the community parade.† Or why we have no idea why the TV networks continue to make such a big deal out of the annual Army-Navy football game when neither team has been in the national title discussion since the days of leather helmets and the single wing formation.
And that whole ďsemper fiĒ thing?† We think itís kinda cool Ė but we donít really get it.
Which is not to say that weíre not
patriotic.† We are.† We love our country.† But thereís a special kind of love that comes
from serving, whether youíre serving people, God or Country.† You who have served
On Veteranís Day Ė and every day.
For reasons known only to you.
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ó © Joseph Walker
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