Today, I took Elliot and Rachel to a local park that is dedicated to Veterans. I needed to do this for several reasons. First to communicate to them why we as a Nation celebrate this day Nationally. It’s not to have sales or in their eyes have a day off from school.
Secondly, to explain that there are people within their world that have served. I explained that while I never served, that their Grandfather, Guido did. (That is him as a USMC in the early 60s. I pointed out that their maternal Great Grandfather was in WII in Italy as an Ambulance Driver. They also had Uncles, Great Aunts and other relatives serve. On my wife’s side her Father & Step-Father also served. Also that their Uncle Darren was in the USAF.
Finally, I explained that there are people right now who are off in far away lands serving their country to make sure that we are free and that people are safe. I said that they are Moms & Dads just like us but they are not able to see their family for weeks, months and years at a time. That they also come home for a while and then get sent back to the same or different country. That the Dads do not get to see their new Son or Daughter born and have to wait a long time to see them for the first time.
I also said that sometimes that the people who serve do not come home because they were killed in action.
While we were at the Veteran’s Park, we saw many people who were coming to pay their respects and to have moments alone to remember their friends who did not make it home. Elliot, Rachel and I did go to a Church Service for 15 minutes that was just off the park. The VFW Color Guard did Flag. Both Elliot and Rachel covered their hearts and paid their respects. Elliot went for the Cubscout Salute even though he was not in his Class A. Rachel had her hand over her heart. Both stood very still and were quite. Several words were said and I could see them get not interested. So, we left.
As we walked back to the truck we came across a WWII Vet in a Wheelchair whom I talked to a bit. He explained he was in the Submarines for 4 years and hated the Mark 14 Torpedos. I thanked him for his service. He went on to tell us about one of the Medal of Honor winners that was on the Granite Plaque. Explained who he was and what he did and that the USAF Airforce Base in Klamath Falls, OR was named after him. Both kids just stood there and listened and then thanked him.
I was very proud of them. I think that they got the meaning of the day. They both explained over lunch to their Mom what they did. I did not press them to do it nor did I ask questions of them. They got it.
While Scouting values provides many opportunities to advance within their Rank, this was not a day for advancement. It was a day to help my two children to understand what Veteran’s Day is and isn’t.
Thanks to: Dad, Bill, Dewey, Jesse, Frank, Mike W, Kirk, Norm, Dick, Pete, Wayne, Doug, Steve J, Jerry, Larry, Darrin, Lori T, Archie B, Gary, Chuck, Ty P and all the others who serve, served and for those who are still on Eternal Patrol.