Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I love the 4th of July; it is probably my favorite holiday.
It reminds me of how lucky we are to have the freedoms we do. I feel the presence of those in my life who made sacrifices so we could enjoy our freedom and remain safe.
My stepfather was a Vietnam veteran. He was not killed in Vietnam, but he still gave his life, in some ways. Life was not normal for him ever again. He was in pain all of the time, physically and emotionally. He could never erase the images of the war he was a part of, even many years later, it was like a movie that played over and over again in his mind.
He was the dad I had never had and told me he wished he was my father. He was handsome, smart, had a hearty laugh and a great sense of humor. He loved going on trips, once to Washington, D.C., to see the Vietnam Memorial.
However, he was also an alcoholic, who could not deal with the memories of the war. He felt he had nothing left to give; he gave it all in Vietnam. The pain from the past haunted him to the point that he could do nothing but try to drown it. He gave up on life.
We often think of the ultimate sacrifice as being the one where the soldier dies for this country, and it is. However, we can’t begin to understand what a sacrifice our living soldiers have made after serving in a war. I learned this from my grandfather who served in the Korean War, as well as from my stepfather. We have to remember to take care of them after they have taken care of us.