My uncle on my mother’s side was in Vietnam. He served two tours overseas. He was exposed to Agent Orange and could never have children. He died from lung cancer at the young age of 52. I remember I was visiting my grandmother and my uncle was there. We were on the front porch and the sun was burning my eyes. I was pretty young at the time and didn’t understand war or sacrifice. My uncle had been drinking and he was looking at the medals he earned while serving his country. He was angry and sad and I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what to say but I listened to his story. He clearly had PTSD but he never got help and lived alone with his demons. I never knew that I was going to experience PTSD from my husband.
I am so thankful for my grandfather and uncle’s service. I never grew up knowing I lived an hour from the 101st Airborne. I remember wearing a yellow ribbon on my shirt at school one day during Desert Storm. We had a friend whose mom was in the Navy but I didn’t really know what that meant. I loved her uniform though. I married a soldier and then I became a true patriotic woman. I became so immensely thankful for the service of our men and women in uniform. I tied the yellow ribbon around our tree, I hung my gold star service flag in my window each time Bryan was deployed, and I prayed and wished that my husband would come home safe. Bryan worked insanely long hours, I rarely saw him. He was always at trainings or in the field preparing for his next deployment. On Veterans Day I am proud that I married my soldier. I am thankful for each and every service member’s sacrifice. I will attend the Veterans Day parade with tears in my eyes and my head held high.