I’ve always had a soft spot for people in the military. Brave men and women not only put their lives on hold, but in danger, to make the world a safer place for all of us. I used to get goosebumps when I heard Taps played. After my stepdad’s funeral, that haunting song now sends me into a crying jag. My stepdad served in the Navy. During WWII, his ship was torpedoed off the coast of Africa. He and most of the crew were able to swim to shore. Not everyone made it. And the saying is true, the captain goes down with his ship. My dad also served our country in the Navy. I am proud of both of them. Are they handsome or what!
I work in healthcare in a facility that serves many veterans. In the past, I might have gone about my business, swept patients in and out, and not thought about them at the end of the day. I’m older now. And you better damn well believe I’m wiser. Now I value the chance to talk to these amazing people. To find out their stories. What they have lived through. They are incredible people. In today’s society, many people put themselves first and don’t think about others. We live in a “what can you do for me” society. That didn’t used to be the case. People used to ask, “how can I help you? What can I do?” I agree with Tom Brokaw’s choice of The Greatest Generation.
I recently had a veteran come into our practice. He was very upset because the flag flying out front was worn. It was time to replace it. He had mentioned it at an appointment a couple weeks earlier and it had not yet been replaced. At the end of our time together, I said, “may I ask you a question?” He said yes. “Why, as a veteran, does it bother you so much about the flag?”
His answer was touching. “I served my country for 20 years. I placed flags on many gravestones. I don’t like to see my flag abused. That’s my flag. I fought for it. I fought for you too. And I’d do it again.”
This is the kind of person who steps up to fight in our military. So thank you to all veterans. You make this world a better place. And, yes, we have a new flag at our practice.