Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanks, Poppy.

Today is Veterans Day and I am here to tell you that although I do not fit the image of someone that you might consider to be traditionally "pro-military" - I really am. In my own way, that see, I'm not in favor of what has traditionally been called the "military industrial complex" (wasn't it Truman who first called it that?) - rather, I'm in favor of the individuals in uniform. This morning, I heard someone on the radio talk about how every single moment of the day when we enjoy our lives, we owe those moments (at least in part) to our veterans. I absolutely believe that.

I don't like war. To be honest, who really does? No one who truly understands what it means and who is also truly human. But this morning, driving down the road, I thought about my wonderful life and then I thought about my grandad. Poppy lied about his age to join the military before he was 18 years old, and went off to fight Germany and Japan during WWII. I started thinking about what our country would be like today if Hitler had won. What a horrible thought. Truly, "horrible" doesn't even BEGIN to cover it. And because of Poppy, and many other men and women - my kids and I live a great life.

So thank you, Poppy. Thank you to my cousin (a tour in Iraq dismantling roadside bombs right after high school), and thank you to my uncle in law whom I never met because he was killed in Vietnam two weeks before my husband was born. And of course, of course...thank you to the men and women of Fort Hood.

Do you ever see the veterans on the street, asking you for a dollar? According to an NPR program I heard the other day, veterans are at a much greater risk for being homeless than those of us who have a "regular" life here at home. How could this be?

All I'm saying is that we don't have this great life because we are better people than others who suffer. We don't deserve this life more than kids in Africa who are forced into violence before they are 10 years old or more than women in the middle east who can't even show their face for fear of being attacked. They deserve it too. But we got it. From the pure dumb luck of being born in the United States.

So, thanks Poppy. I really do hope that someday the concept of war is gone for good. In the meantime, I'm going to remember that although I might not support certain policies or institutions, I will ALWAYS support the humans in uniform.

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