My husband and I went to Charleston, South Carolina for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Not too far from there is Patriot’s Point. This is where WWII ships are anchored in the harbor for tourists to visit. There was a destroyer, a carrier, and a submarine. Because my father served on a destroyer in WWII in the Pacific, I wanted to go and see what the ships were like.
I was not prepared for how small the destroyer was. My father is six feet one inch tall. I know it had to be cramped quarters for him, as well as, for all who were on board. The bunks looked uncomfortable because the mattresses looked thin, and the springs on the bunk had to pop through interrupting a good night sleep. There wasn’t much of a galley so cooking had to have been minimal. Because the ship was so small I can only imagine the rock and roll of the waves that would leave me throwing up over the side! My father lived on this ship for four years!
I really have a new respect for my father and all who have served on these ships. My dad volunteered at 18 years of age to serve in the service, as did many of his friends. He never got to graduate with his senior class. Whether he had regrets or not, he never voiced them. He served and did what was expected and necessary to preserve our freedom and freedom of other countries. My father has told us things that happened during his service in the Navy. It was not a pleasant experience. I am sure that he came back a different person, not worse for the experience, but very different from someone who has not served in battle.
Men and women of the Armed Forces give up a lot to serve their country. They are away from their families and in conditions that none of us would be willing to live in for a day let alone for months at a time. While we are eating a good meal, relaxing in front of the TV, and able to be with our families, let’s remember those who are serving their country away from their comforts and families. As we observe Veteran’s Day, if you know a Veteran or someone who is serving, reach out to them. Let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifice. As for me, I say, “Thank you, Dad.”
It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you. Author Unknown