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365 Letters to Myself

November 12th, Veterans Day, after...

Happy Veterans Day. It means something to me! I am the mother of a veteran, a proud one. My son was only 20 years old, in the National Guard, when he was deployed for 9 months. Nothing since has been the same. The 'after' lives on forever.

He enlisted because he told me, “Some people can’t stand up for themselves, I want to do so for them.” It was the perfect answer and fit his character. Just to find out, it might have been more about the college benefits with no expectation he would end up a part of the war. His service was peripheral, the crew chief of VIP helicopter trips, but I think he was exposed to more than we will ever know.

At his basic training, it was mentioned that only 1-2 percent of the population puts themselves in the situation of serving our country in possible conflict. My personal opinion, that no one exposed is unchanged. We do not know how each soldier is affected, for my son, it may have been too much for that time in his life. He missed the last year of his grandfather’s life, first year of college, relationship challenges. He did serve honorably though and earned his fair share of medals, promotions.

I make a point to acknowledge him and his service every year, even though he tries to blow me off. I try to remind him, it’s a big deal but perhaps given his mental state after, remembering is bittersweet. What a soldier sacrifices, well-being, time, safety, life, loved ones, basic comforts, so much more…a single day seems insignificant. Being celebrated every day more fitting.

Hmmm, we owe you so much…day 119!

Thank you if you choose to join the journey. Let's hope it is more fun than tears!

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