Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Thank you to all Vets and families of the Vets who have served our country.

Although Al, my husband, and I were never in the military we both have worked for the military as civilians. I only worked for the Army for a few months but Al worked for them for over 25 years.
One of the highlights of my life was when we were living and working for the Army in Germany. It was December 1991 just before the start of the first Gulf War AKA Desert Storm. I was lucky enough to volunteer to work at the USO's tent City at Rhein Main Air Force Base. Our job was to greet, feed and talk to the troops who had just flown in from the States and were en route to Kuwait, Saudi, and unknown points in the Persian Gulf region.
Most of the troops we saw were very young 18 to 22 year old men and women. All were dressed in desert khakis. All had automatic weapons slung over their shoulders. When they came into the tent the weapons came off their shoulders and were placed upright into a pyramid shape by unit or squadron. These gun pyramids were an interesting contrast to the fresh cut Christmas trees scattered throughout the tent.
After having the long flight from the States to Germany many of the troops were jet lagged but full of bravado at the task they would face in only a few weeks. It was almost a pep rally before the big game type atmosphere.
We did our best to feed them, talk with them, and show them how to use the equipment to make MARS Phone calls to family back in the States.
About the middle of the afternoon, a group of 7 to 8 year old Brownie Scouts in full uniform showed up to sing Christmas Carols. At first there were some snide comments about the little girl's performance but within a few minutes some of the troops started gathering round and singing along with the girls. By the time the girl's finished I don't think there was a dry eye in the place.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon talking to soldiers, both men and women, who suddenly realized they were going to war . For some of them this would be the first time they had ever been away from their family at Christmas. One woman who sticks in my mind after all these years was thinking about her 3 year son. It was heart wrenching. It was an emotional day, but I think it was probably one of the most rewarding days of my life.

To all those troops , others who have served and the troops now in service to our country I say God bless and keep you and thank you for your service.


Laurie said...

Wonderful post. Thank you. Having a Marine father and then marrying my husband right out of Navy boot camp and living all these years in a military town, I feel very close to those who serve their country.

One thing we can all do is to thank our military men and women when we see them in public places. Airports, bus and train stations usually have military folks heading somewhere.

On my trip to Chicago last month I saw many military folks and I think I said thank you to each one. The smiles on their faces and hearing them say "It's an honor to serve, ma'am" is a gift you don't want to miss.

meb said...

What a terrific post. It's amazing how much we don't know about each other and yet we are cyber friends forever. Thanks for telling us this account of your time in Germany. It's a wonderful tribute on the perfect day.

I got your comments over on my post... thanks!

PDX Granny said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. Like Laurie, I married my former husband right out of boot camp and lived the military life for a few years. Being a young bride of 18, it was more like playing house at first, but it didn't take long to figure out I was married not just to my husband, but also to the Marines. I remember well the other young wives I met in Quantico and Camp Pendleton and how it felt to send our guys off to Viet Nam.

We owe our thanks not only to the men and women who go off to war, but also to all the loved ones who stay behind and serve with love and support.

Laurie said...

"Those who wait also serve."

It's so true. I often say that we were in the Navy for four years because the spouse and children do serve as a family.

Tim and I were the only married couple in our circle of friends and our apartment was the hangout place. I loved it and knew the guys were happy to eat homecooked food and my chocolate chip cookies. One guy would play marathon games of cribbage with me. Good guys and one gal in that group of young (really young) people who were serving during the Viet Nam war. I thought of all of them yesterday.

meb said...

Do you watch the show Army Wives? It just seems true to life and so was just curious.

I too was a young military wife.

lynn1 said...

meb, No I don't watch Army wives. I just can't get hooked on another show.

Sydney said...

wow, what a wonderful story Lynn. And what an honor and a privelage to be able to do that work. And have that experience in your lifetime. THank you too for doing that service under those conditions, for all of us back here.