Blog Your Blessings: Veterans' Day

From August 24, 2011

The other day my daughter's social studies teacher assigned the class the task of writing three questions for Viet Nam veterans who would be visiting her class on Thursday to mark Veterans' Day. That was cool except for a few obvious things: 1. They are studying the American Revolution, so Viet Nam was slightly out of context. Therefore, 2. they had no background information from which to generate the questions. This created 3. a lack of sensitivity toward and awareness of the kinds of questions that are appropriate as well as (Dare I say it?) logical.

I assured my daughter  we had the material on the bookshelf to help her understand something of the situation those veterans would have faced. We'd read up a bit, and she would not ask bozo questions and set the free world back by 60 years. 

This conversation took place on a hill in the dark as we walked Clyde for his evening constitutional. Apparently, the universe was listening in, because it delivered to us our neighbor, a retired officer who had served as an Airborne Ranger on more than 140 deployments over 11 years. I mentioned the assignment to this gentleman, and he did my daughter's homework right there on the side of the road and encouraged her to suggest that her teacher provide kids with some parameters so that they don't ask a question that might be a PTSD trigger or a just plain bad question. As it turns out, this man had the same teacher for social studies back in his day. That teacher's son had served in the army.  (It seemed to me as I listened to him that we all know each other in a real and extended way, that we are indeed connected and should therefore be committed to each other.)

In a matter of minutes, my daughter had a sense of what it is to serve and be understood or misunderstood and to be left to deal with it, to do what you're told as a matter of honor and to leave the politics to other people in the (wild) hope they might have your back. And if they don't, the courageous and decent guy coming down the road does.

What to do on Veterans' Day? Reflect and be grateful. That's what our neighbor said after many years of service.

My heartfelt thanks go out to those fine folks who serve this country through military service. 


  1. Amen

    Aloha from Honolulu

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  2. What a wonderful life lesson for your daughter despite how ineptly the teacher started it.

  3. That was so nice of the man to take time out to do this for your daughter.

    It's nice to be appreciated. I remember we had a lot of US draft dodgers who became our teachers in Canada and they were heart broken cause they thought they could never go home. They were brave to say no but many also disagreed but were afraid to say no, to Vietnam .Then to come back to be so hated was truly quite upsetting.They slept with guns, had nightmares, flash backs and then those sicknesses from the orange gas that was thrown onto the forest to kill it.
    I really felt bad for those guys so now every one tries to be understanding because we don't want the same thing happening again.

  4. I agree, I remember those vietnam war days and protests. It was a time of turmoil for our nation.

  5. Great thoughtful post and pic Sandy.

  6. I think your daughter learned a valuable lesson, and it much of it was learned outside the classroom. We can learn much by listening to older people.

  7. powerful post! i loved it. what a nice life lesson for your daughter.

  8. What a wonderful neighbor and friend. Please thank him for me for service to our country!

    I thanked every person I saw today that said they had served our country in the military.

    I have a blessing up also this week. . . a little early.

  9. What a lovely post =- a beautiful tribute and thanks and how fortunate your daughter is to have your insight (and your/her neighbors).

  10. What a lovely, heartfelt post. We can never acknowledge the sacrifice and bravery of veterans enough. I'm glad your neighbour showed up at the right time to help with this assignment too.

    Hugs to you and Dell, G

  11. Actually, those experience people out there are the ones who help us to live a livelier live, with greater understanding. When life unfolds with activity, we learn something everyday.

  12. What a serendipitous encounter. Beautiful post, Sandy.

  13. I'm a big believer in serendipity. It served you and daughter well. The Vietnam war is complicated and confusing especially for those who served. I think we have completely forgot its lessons.


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