Note: The journal can now be read in 52 languages. Click on ‘translate.’
This morning we had our Veteran’s Day Parade at the VA Hospital in Pineville. I’ve been in other parades, but this one was a bit extra special for me. Perhaps it had to do with where it was taking place. Most of the people who lined the roadway were veterans, and families and children of veterans. Some were patients at the hospital. There was a comradery. I have always felt at home at the VA. Guess it goes back to my Navy days.
It was so stirring to see the faces of the people, to see their smiles, to see the bright eyes of the children, and to hear time after time, ‘Happy Veteran’s Day.’ ‘Thank you for celebrating with us.’ ‘Throw some candy mister.’
I’ve been in parades where thousands lined the streets. This parade had a few hundred. But it could not have been any more majestic and any more deserving. I thought to myself, ‘This parade is for you, my brothers and sisters. You are our heros.’
Every time I heard the marching band behind us play one of the military songs, I felt a lump in my throat. I wanted to get out of the truck and hug every single person there. After all, I am one of them. (Course I was driving, so getting out wasn’t a good idea.) : )
Yes, there really is something that subsists between veterans and their families that speaks to brotherhood. It doesn’t matter if the veteran was Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, National Guard, the sense of brotherhood remains in place.
And yes, I do thank God for the old red, white and blue. Just yesterday, Betty and I attended a special Veteran’s Day program where two of our grandchildren attend elementary school. I could not help but notice that in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, when it came to, ‘One nation, under God,’ the voices became even more invigorated. Yes indeed, we are one nation under God.
Reaching back into my childhood memories, two special things always come to mind. One had to do with my mother teaching me how to pray the little child’s prayer, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep.’ That memory remains etched in my mind.
The other memory had to do with the ending of World War II. Yes, I well remember it. I remember the dancing in the streets, the jubilation, and news reels at the movie house. But most of all I remember how those of my family fought in that war. I simply idolized two of my mother’s brothers who served in the Navy, Uncle Holiday Carver and Uncle Grover Carver.
Uncle Grover was one of the few survivors from the USS Indianapolis. Uncle Holiday retired as a Navy Commander. Both saw plenty of action with the Pacific fleet. It would not do for me to join any service other than the Navy. So at age 18, young, immature, and brash, off I went to serve my country as a sailor. (Early years of Vietnam.)
My four years as a radioman saw me to the same areas that my uncles had served. I was in the Philippine Islands for a year and a half, abroad the USS Calvert for a year and a half, and in California for a year. In fact my Uncle Holiday gave me a tropical suit for my time in the Philippines.
Well, I’m not bragging, just thankful. And now it is time to put this entry to rest. Are you proud to be an American. Here is a song just for you…
Yes indeed – Jesus is a great Savior. You can fill in the rest.