Tomorrow, November 11, 2016, is Veteran’s Day. I’m a veteran and finally proud of it. I wasn’t always so proud of my military service.
Dad never talked about his service on Iwo Jima during World War II. He was at the base of the hill when the famous picture of the flag waving was taken. He never talked about it. For his generation, courage and service was the norm. Nothing to talk about, even though he was heroic. My service was not nearly heroic, yet I didn’t talk about my service because my generation neither appreciated or honored military service.
When I returned from Vietnam on the U. S. S. Ranger we had garbage thrown on us from the heights of the Golden Gate Bridge entering into San Francisco Bay. Some crew members even joined the anti-war protests. Many of us often wore wigs on liberty in San Francisco to make it more difficult to be identified as military, considered by many more the enemy than the Viet Cong. It didn’t make me proud. It made me sad.
No longer. Recently I have taken to wearing a baseball cap proudly proclaiming my service. I have been encouraged by the response. I have been thanked numerous times for my service. I have been engaged in many wonderful conversations. Maybe things are changing. I’m a veteran and, nearly fifty years later, I’m finally proud.
This weekend take a moment to thank and honor vets. Here are some opportunities to learn why those who served should be honored.
Read a book. Bill O’Reilly’s best seller Killing the House of the Rising Sun – How America Vanquished World War II Japan includes the story of Hacksaw Ridge and will give you a new appreciation of how this country, that so many aren’t proud of, saved the world.
Go to church. Sunday at 10 a.m. Progressive Baptist Church, here in Lafayette, hosts its annual salute to Vets. If you go you might see me, but don’t let that keep you away.
Carencro Veterans’ Day celebration: The City of Carencro is honoring local servicemen and women with a special Veterans Day Celebration, Nov. 11 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Carencro Veterans Memorial. Follow the Carencro Veterans Memorial on Facebook for more information.
HonorFest/ Veterans Day, 2016: Country music star Trace Adkins will headline the event. HonorFest be held Nov. 11 at Parc International, downtown Lafayette. Gates open at 5 p.m., show begins at 6 p.m.
Read a magazine. This month’s issue of Covenant Spotlight includes articles honoring our vets. The magazine is free and available throughout Acadiana. You can also read it online. Check out my article on page 7.
Donald Trump says we are going to start honoring and taking care of our vets. I hope he means it because it’s about dam time.