Cost of Veteranship

So just thought I’d write something as far as veterans day goes and you guys can tell me your thoughts on them in the comments below.

My thoughts on veterans day …

Well a the military kinds of runs in our families blood so to speak … especially on my fathers side. For many people in the US the military touches at least our immediate, extended, or non-biological family so to speak. There are countless times when I’ve been getting to know someone and then all of a sudden, “ohh hey jeff there … yeah he used to be in the army/navy/coastguard”.

My great grandfather on my dad’s side was in the navy I believe. His son in law (my grandfather married to my grandmother) eventually joined the airforce and was in it for pretty much most of his adult life too.

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grandpa Anderson

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my grandpa Anderson again

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my grandpa Wassell

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a quite burly beard … this was when he served in Antarctica

Then there was my dad, he ended up joining the coastguard. When I was growing up I’m almost certain that he wanted me to be a fighter pilot because we’d constantly watch shows about history, warfare, but most importantly watch shows about planes. There was a show on discover channel that my grandpa (mom’s side) had recorded called “wings” and it was essentially several hours worth of different planes and the wars they were in.

 

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my dad

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he was a Skorsky mechanic

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more cool shots

One was “Wings: Over the gulf” another “Wings over the Luftwaffe” and of course just regular wings which focused on different airplanes. Needless to say I KNEW about planes growing up.

Most of them never were in any real combat though except for my grandpa Vince (mom’s side).

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He was a paratrooper and was in Bastogne and the Ardenne during the battle of the bulge. Needless to say … it was bad and many of the things that happened to him he kept with him for a long time. Combat had changed him dramatically in some ways. He didn’t open up about his experiences to our family until he was in his 60’s or 70’s which was incredible. Looking back you’d probably be able to say he had most likely Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD midly.

So needless to say military is in my family (as are many other American families due to WWII).

But it took me a long time to understand potentially the cost of something like that and I didn’t realize it till much later. So let me tell you about a friend of ours who was quite the soldier. He shall remain unnamed for specific reasons but I’ll tell you a little about him because he’s part of this whole story. For this story lets just call him Jeff. At westpoint jeff was one of the top of his class and a real great soldier. After he got out he was put in command of a lot of guys was deployed overseas and saw a good deal of combat. Then he happened to become friends with my father and so I’d see Jeff occasionally whenever we’d meet up. Probably one of the most affable, nicest, warm-hearted dudes I’ve ever met in my life and he seemed like every moment he was living he lived like it was his last day on earth. He exuded joy.

So on one occasion we got together for a men’s night with My dad, Me, Jeff, another relative, and my brother and we decided to watch a war film. It was the move, “The Great Raid”, about the raid to free American POW’s at Cabanatuan in the Philippines. Looking back now it probably was not a smart decision to watch this film and yet also a valuable lesson was learned. I’d seen it before and I enjoyed the film of course but while we were watching and near the credits I managed to peak over a look at Jeff and realized something, he was crying. Not just softly crying, but sobbing and as the credits rolled he started to mumble a little bit. He quickly recovered of course but here I was young Brogan and I’d never seen a man cry before like that. But not just any man but probably one of the manliest men that I’ve ever had the honor of meeting.

In that moment I realized just how deep his wounds had gone, just how injured he was, and what cost he’d given up. While his body was there the war had taken it’s toll on his soul. Most of us always think of the physical sacrifice and the courage and the freedoms sacrificed by our veterans to protect us but like Shia Labouf in Fury when our soldiers say, “here am I send me” it means more than just flesh and blood … it means sacrificing deeply a part of the soul, a part of themselves.

Don’t forget that this veterans day and remember the sacrifice that they’ve given. It’s easy to look at the casualties of war and look at the numbers … but when you go to Arlington or Fort Bonifacio and you see the headstones and think of them as people the sacrifice becomes realized.

Lets live on in the name of their sacrifice, lets live on in the name of what our veterans have sacrificed.

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