My 86-year-old father is a WWII veteran who fought in the Navy as part of the Marshall Island Campaign. He doesn’t talk much about it, not to this day — perhaps because he suffered a ruptured eardrum and hearing loss from his tour of duty working with the ship’s guns.
Many years ago, I called him on Veterans Day, bubbling with patriotic gratitude. “Hi daddy!” I said. “I just wanted to say thanks so much for fighting with the Allies to rid us of the Nazis and bring justice to the world.”
My father replied, “Why, thank you, dear. Thank you for reminding me of the worst goddamned years of my life!”
Mr. Cranky Pants doesn’t want to be reminded that he did something rather heroic. But for everyone else out there who serves or has served our country, especially those under an unpopular president in a war where you’ve endured daily horrors beyond our comprehension, I want to say thank you for all that you’ve sacrificed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for making a difference, wherever you are. For your willingness and for your love of this country I love, too: thank you.
And having grown up with a disabled veteran, I urge everyone to support bills that increase veteran benefits. They and their families deserve it beyond what you can imagine.