Collateral Veterans.

A letter my dad wrote me while I was at BYU;
 he was squadron commander of the 490th Missile Squadron

Today at the end of the announcements, our principal spoke to the school, and acknowledged the military service of many of our staff members. And then, he acknowledged the collateral service of the family members of United States military veterans.

I choked up just a little, because as a recovering Air Force Brat, no adult ever really acknowledged the emotions wrapped up in being a child of someone serving in the Air Force. On Veteran’s Day, we honor those who served in the military in a variety of ways–we post photos of parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents, photos of headstones with military service noted, photos of flags, photos of poppies. 
But I don’t see many photos of mothers holding it together, even when they don’t want to. I don’t see photos of daughters going to daddy-daughter dances with a neighbor because dad is on alert. I don’t see photos of sons hugging a dad before deployment or TDYs. 
I don’t mean to minimize the service of Veterans to this country, but this year on Veteran’s Day, take a moment and think of the collateral veterans–the spouses, children, parents, grandparents–who celebrate Christmases, birthdays, anniversaries without their soldier. Think of the introverted kid who bravely heads into school number seven and makes the best of wherever dad or mom landed this tour. Think of the mother dealing with four bratty kids at the dinner table, who decide now that dad is pulling another alert, it’s a good time to dispense with all table manners.
(Not that the last example is from personal experience…)
I come from a long line of United States military veterans, all the way back to the American Revolution. I’m grateful for their service.
But this Veteran’s Day, I’m thinking of the collateral veterans, and I’m grateful for their service too.

2 thoughts on “Collateral Veterans.

  1. Love this. I did a Veteran's Day ride in my classes today. Before the last hill of the class, i played a medley of the service anthems and encouraged them to stand when their service song was played. I tell you it was inspiring to see the second class, who were 90% spouses, get more excited than the service members did in the earlier class (granted it was 0530 in the first class so they may have been tired)

    It was also cool to see how many, like me, were raised military and then married military.

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