November 11, 2009
In honor of today I want to share a memory with you all from a military brat who grew up in the Benelux. I shall never forget the day my brother and I - I was 14, so he was 10ish - made a quick run to the local Delhaize supermarket. A tiny, bent, withered old woman came up to us, hugged us both, and said "Thank you". I asked her what she was thanking us for, and she said "Americans saved my life and my family in the War." Then she hugged us again, and left.
It was so powerful - I mean, of course we learned about the Wars in school, but it was detached, from a textbook - easy to read about and then move on. This woman changed that. After this chance meeting we paid closer attention to the land and structures around us and it was everywhere - we were in a part of the world that had been overrun by armies over and over, where many of the forests still held the dead, and where the old people in our neighborhood had been there since the last time it was battled over. It gave us both new eyes - and new respect - for the rest of the time we lived there.
The veterans of the old World Wars are being replaced by veterans of these new World Wars - never forget what they have done for their country and by extension, for you.