I have to admit, I was very surprised by my youngest daughter’s reaction about Veterans Day. She didn’t seem to fully understand the value of these men and women and what they do and did so that most of us didn’t have to.
I started explaining that both my father (George Nutter) and father in-law (Fred Knox) served their country during WWII and that they were both veterans. So was my Uncle Bill Conole and his wife Aunt Mary, my Uncle’s Joe Siva, Walter Nutter, Paul Silva (merchant Marines), and that my uncle Jack Quinn who I never knew died in service to his country.
I went on to explain that many times men and now women served their country by enlisting in the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force during times of war and conflict and that included not just World War II but the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War in which for the first time in my life, Veterans returning home were treated very disrespectfully and that it was and is one of the worse and most embarrassing periods in our Country, There is no excuse for the way many of these Veterans were treated. I also told her about Dessert Storm and the conflicts we are facing now in AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ. My nephew Christopher served and was deployed there , so she understood that.
I told her that my generation was fortunate and while we still had to sign up for a “draft” (being called into service whether you wanted to go or not) we never were drafted but that many people including my brother George served their country by enlisting (in his case Air Force) and that even today while there is no draft many men and women sign up to serve their country.
I tried to explain that in my mind, being in the service and training to defend our country and protect the rights that we have is such a value. We should respect and Thank people who are willing to risk their lives to protect and defend our freedoms. To often we don’t realize that we can say and do the things we do because someone else stepped up and answered the call to serve.
I told her how I didn’t have to worry about Vietnam because I was only 10 when it was coming to an end but how I was terrified for my son Rob in September of 2001 when the USA was attacked and I thought our country would re-implement the draft and that my son would have to go to war.
I understood just a little that day what people like my father in-law and his friend Frank Lannan had experienced during WWII. Fred hardly ever talked about his time over in France but when he did, he would get choked up over the number of his platoon and his friends from the Highlands who never made it home while he did. Frank was on 2 boats that were hit and sunk yet survived both times.
I told her about my cousins Jim Nutter, Bob Nutter, Walter “Gator” Nutter and others who served their country and that today in Lowell we have many people who are veterans including Bob Page, Jack Mitchell, Dick Howe Jr. , Cliff Krieger , George Anthes, Thayer Eastman, Greg Page, Dan Kelleher, John MacDonald and so many others who answered a call to serve their country so people like me who didn’t feel we met up to the standard or who were to self involved or had other interest could go about their lives while these men and women put their personal lives on hold to be of service to their country.
We need to teach our kids that what these people do, much like Police and Fire fighters is they serve their fellow citizens, they protect, assist, treat and stand guard over so many freedoms we take for granted. We need to tell them that today should be a day to honor and Thank all who served their Country and that is just isn’t a day for public employees and school kids to stay home, watch TV or go shopping.
Today is a day to say THANK YOU for your Service, Thank you for protecting my Freedoms and Thank you to the many families that miss you while you serve and protect us.
May God keep you safe wherever you are stationed or deployed and may god continue to watch over you and bless the many who have stood in service to us and who are our Veterans.