I never see my dad quite as proud as I do today.
My dad will be 69 this year. I'm going to 25 in January. He had me much later in life as you can tell. It sucks because he won't be here very much longer, maybe a few years the doctor's tell me. Maybe. And when he looks back on his life, he tells me he regrets nothing and that's how it should be. That as I live my life I should do things that won't cause regret in life. And that with every choice there needs to be had, there will always be two different decisions. But not to worry about what if I had taken the other road, or did something different, because I didn't and it doesn't matter now. I love my daddy. Yes I admit it, I call him my daddy. Not in public and hardly ever to his face but in writing and over the hone, he's still my daddy. I was always, ALWAYS a daddy's girl and spoiled to the bone.
He joined the military when he was 21. He joined the Air Force and was in there for 4 years when he decided not to reenlist again. It wasn't for him. He went back to his parent's place and couldn't find a job and ended up going back into the military. The Marine Corps this time. He was in there for 21 years. Long enough to be eligible for retirement benefits and to be known as a lifer. When he retired out of the Marine Corps he was 46, a Master Staff Seargent and had me, a two year old chubby baby girl waiting for him at home. He served in the Vietnam War as a weather man and also as ... Okay so I forgot what he called it here forgive me please...But basically he had a few weapons on him and rode with men through the jungles as a guard basically. It was his job to look for the enemy or their weapons, bombs, traps etc...He's been shot at and almost died thanks to a mine. But yet he came home safely.
When this Ft hood event took place my father was angry. Men back in Vietnam were drafted, they had no choice but to serve and while some of them jumped to Canada or Mexico, no one ever shot up a base or innocent people. He didn't enjoy being in Vietnam but he made the best of it however he could and dealt with it. He doesn't like how people have evolved from the 1940's to now. And yes, he also still has a thing against the Army. I guess everyone has to have a rival of some kind right? Haha. A Marines rival will always be the Army I suppose....
I'm the first person in my line of family to not be in the military. We are a military family and I'm proud of that. I actually was in the Navy for about a week until they told me they weren't taking me after all due to a pregnancy test that came back positive (thank you Hannah). I would have loved being in but I'm also thankful and happy I have what I do now.
I'm so proud of my dad. He's still proud of that part of his life and doesn't live in those days but now that I'm older he opens up to me and tells me a lot about the years in the military. And a lot of things around our house that I used to think of junk, like an old desk, a few mismatched plates that I don't like as they match nothing and aren't a set. Or a few books and even some weird blankets and sleeping bags. They all came from the base in Vietnam. So now I have them put up and will hold onto them as well. Now I understand.
So today I told my dad I loved him, that I was still proud of him and am so grateful that he served in the military. It's amazing and difficult thing to do and obviously not very many can handle it. And when it comes down to it, whatever part of the military someone is in or how long they serve isn't the point. The point is, they served. They leave their families for months or years at a time and do what they have to for a country full of ungrateful and sometimes uncaring people. Who take our freedom and stomp all over it. But that doesn't stop all of our men and women for doing what they do. They lose their best friends, their family and their roomates everyday to some sort of violence. So please, remember to thank a veteran and a soldier today. Without them, we really wouldn't have anything and what we should have is a sense of pride for having complete strangers care so much for us :)