My father served in World War II. Erin's dad Gerry was in Vietnam and her grandfather Cecil was in World War II too. Mike Rozmarin's brother is in the Army. Our friend Ken Scott was in the Navy. Bridget's daughter and son-in-law are in the Air Force in Korea.
I don't remember having strong feelings ever about the sacrifices that the men and women in the US armed services have made. I have thought about them and thanked them but never felt any true affinity with their struggles or even their deaths. But I never was closely and personally acquainted with a service person while they were in the service or deployed. Reading the accounts of prisoners of war in the Pacific arena as well as in Europe during World War II made it much more real. Having Aggie and Matt in the service makes it about as real as it can be to me.
I'd like to think that if I could go back 45 years that I would consider going into the service with my current mindset. I know it never hit my radar back then at all. And, as I've pointed out throughout my life, I've never burned with the white heat of total motivation for anything. I'm more of a low simmer kind of girl with periods of rapid bubbling, boiling and overflowing the pot. Whew, that's a mixed metaphor if every I've written one.
What's curious is that when I do see someone in military dress, I'm shy and embarrassed to approach them and say thank you. I'm not sure why. It feels a little like going up to an African American person and saying, "hey, you're black" or telling an Asian person they're Asian. So obvious as to be embarrassing and not something you should call attention to in public. I need to think about that (the military thing, not the black or Asian alerts), try to understand my discomfort and get over it.