Veteran's Day

The Certificate of Live Birth lists the street address as Gigling Road. Gigling is missing one "g" but it's pronounced the same way. And so the story of how I was born on Gigling Road begins. I was born on base at Fort Ord in Monterey, California on Good Friday. My father was a Staff Sargent, my mother was a civilian Army wife. We only lived on base for a few months with our little cock-a-poo Token before my Dad was honorably discharged after eight years of service.

Silas B Hayes Army Hospital

My life in the military was very limited, only four months total, but I still tell people I'm an Army Brat. I figure I earned the title and there is something a little fun about having been born at one of the most beautiful bases in the country, okay maybe the city is the most beautiful if the base isn't. Plus, despite my father's discharge while I was so young, the military still influenced my life in a few ways. My father was a Vietnam Vet, to say that he was changed or touched by the war would be an understatement. Plus I remember finding the MCI (Meal, Combat, Individual) Rations in my parents closet where I was thrilled to discover little pieces of candy coated gum which I then proceed to eat. I credit the US Army with my love of gum that continues to this day! I always wanted to take my dad's Army issue duffel bag to sleep overs, I thought it was so cool that he still had all those things, along with piles and piles of photos. Of course at the time I was too young to understand the significance of those pieces of his life, I just loved to hear the stories of his dog Arrow that the had to leave behind. Not really grasping that my father, an animal lover, had to leave behind a pet because he was going back to the US after spending a year in country. Of course that is just the start of sadness and horrors witnessed in Vietnam.

My mother's father is also a vet, he fought in Germany in WWII. He has all sorts of books, medals and pictures. His war was frightening too but of course, there is something romantical about WWII. Perhaps it's the stories like my grandparents, meeting at a USO dance at Fort Lewis, falling in love on a first date and getting married before he shipped off to war. My grandfather has just recently, after the death of his wife, started talking about the war. I'm not sure if he wanted to shield her from those memories or if talking about it actually helps him remember her because it is how they met. Regardless of the reason I am thankful, because his fight and service is a part of my family history as well as my nations history. I had no idea until just a few years ago that he is the recipient of a Silver Star Medal.

Veterans are a special lot in this world. Many volunteered, many were drafted, all of them served our country in a capacity that is not easy. Even those who may never have left our own soil still sacrificed their daily, normal lives to be ready at the beck and call of war or conflict. Such a great sacrifice, such a noble act.

I don't think it's any secret that I am anti-war. I hold the Vietnam war partially responsible for my lack of relationship with my father. Perhaps true, perhaps not. It is an easy excuse for me to hold onto. But even though I am anti-conflict, I am in full support of the men and women who serve our country. They fill a void that I could not. They give up things I could not. Many make the ultimate sacrifice. It takes a special person to do this. I know because I know many vets, family or not, and they are all extremely special, in so many ways.

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and I'll be thinking of all of them, particularly those I know and love.

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