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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mommy! Look! Mommy! LOOK!!!

We were at the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday.  I was on the phone talking to a pediatrician about a cat bite case that led to a rabies quarantine, when my son started yelling, "Mommy! Look! Mommy! LOOK!!!"  As I turn around expecting to see some crazy fair ride or giant deep fried snack that he is excited about, I see that he is jumping up and down pointing at a soldier in full camouflage military fatigues.  Then Miranda joins in, "Look Mom!" with an excited smile on her face. 

The soldier is only about three feet from Connor, so he was fully aware of my kids' exhuberant reaction as he walked by.  Being preoccupied with the seriousness of the phone conversation, I was unable to apologize for my kids making such a scene.

To my surprise, rather than continuing to walk by the two crazy kids, the soldier stops and looks at Miranda and Connor.  He stoops down, reaches into his camouflage pocket (I couldn't see it), and says "I have something for you guys." 

He pulls out what would be comparable to a baseball card, but one for soldiers.  His photo, taken in Afghanistan, is on the front, and his information including name and deployment history is on the back.  I wished I had not been on the phone when this happened, because I would have loved to have spoken with him and thanked him for his service.  I would have loved to have taken my kids' photo with him, but I am not sure I would have thought to take one at that very moment, even if I had not been on the phone.

After a brief conversation with them, the details of which I am unaware, he stands up, points at the kids, and says, "You guys take care."  I cupped my hand over the mouthpiece of the phone, and said strongly, "You too," hoping he heard both the concern and the respect in my voice.  I cried as he walked away.  Yep.  I did. 

I placed that soldier's card on the mirror above each of my kid's dressers.

I must admit I was surprised by Connor's reaction to the soldier, unsure of what prompted his excitement.  After thinking about it, I think I may have an idea from where the excitement originated.

When my father turned 18, our country was involved in World War II.  Years earlier, his mother had moved from England to the US around the time of WWI, sometime between 1914-1916.  His father remained in England to serve his country, and joined her in the US after his service in the Royal Armed Forces was complete.  

By the time my father was old enough to enlist, he did, enthusiastically.  He enlisted in the US Navy, and completed boot camp.  By the time he was ready for active duty, the war was officially over. While never doing active duty during wartime, his bravery showed in the choice he made to serve during wartime.  This choice is the source of my deepest admiration for my father. 

I remember noticing my father at parades when I was younger,  Every time a veteran's group walked by, whether they were marching, playing instruments, or riding,  he would remove his hat out of respect, hold it up in the air, and say "Thank you" to the veterans as they walked by him.  If the Star Spangled Banner was playing, my Dad's hand was over his heart, and he was singing with tears in his eyes.  I am not sure if any of the veterans noticed my father amidst the crowds of people present at the parades, nevertheless, he showed his respect, and I noticed, even if no one else did.

I always feel a deep admiration for soldiers when I see them.  Whether you agree with the political reasons behind a troop's deployment or not, you must have respect for the person.  You must have respect for the person willing to put their life on the line for what they believe in; a person willing to leave the people they love for months or years at a time for the country and people they love.  I don't usually approach the soldiers I see, but I have pointed soldiers out to my kids, explaining to them who they were and what their uniforms indicated regarding their choice of service.

So, perhaps this is where my son's excitement about seeing a soldier came from?   Perhaps he senses my respect when I see a soldier.  My father passed away a few years ago, but he would have been proud of Connor's reaction to the soldier that day.


I just thought of something. 

Perhaps Connor's reaction to the soldier stems from something else.

Perhaps it stems from the movie "Transformers"...the good soldiers vs the evil alien robots?

Na.  I am going to go with the pride and respect thing.  Transformers or not, soldiers are heroes.

Thanks Dad!

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Heidi said...

Oh boy... finally took the time to read this one. Very, very well written Lisa, props!

Rocky1950 said...

As a vet and a wife to a Veteran of 22 years, I appreciate people like this. I still respect and honor those that went and served who volunteered or were drafted. I am just glad that unlike another war, our vets are not spit on and called "baby killers" anymore. They are just doing one of the hardest jobs in the world. Just don't let congress cut their deeply deserved benifits. THEY EARNED THEM and MORE!

Dee Drummond-Hoefer said...

Great story Lisa..... brought tears to my eyes. You have taught your kids well, respect and to honor! Which in these days is hard to find. I was I a Dr office not to long ago and there was a young kid (younger then me lol) in uniform in there. There were about 10 people in the waiting room, me and only 1(an older man) went up to thank him. I thought "really!" Well I thought some other choice words, but he just smiled and said thank you mam and thank you sur. I was so mad that no one else went up to him to show there thankfullness for his sacrifices! Some people just aren't taught respect and honor!

Mary Delaney said...

Both my father and stepfather served in WWII. In 1942, both were only 17 and needed their mothers' signatures to enlist (both moms were widows). I've attended many WWII reunions and love those guys like family. Now here we are involved in what COULD have been WWIII - thank God it hasn't been! I appreciate the service of our men and women who are willing to fight for freedom, not just for us but for others.

Mary Maloney said...


Cheryl Pimental said...

Nice blog

Made me cry

patrice marie said...

Just Love this!! What a great story!! :-)

Connie Jordan said...

I have faithful read your blogs since I found them on Facebook, now I am trying to join the fans of veterinary rescuer blog. I end up crying every time I read your blogs. You have inspired me to help at least one dog that was a runaway and came to find a home with me and my pack (one husband and seven other dogs).