On this day, Melanie and I would like to take a minute of your time to go outside of our normal happy go lucky selves to talk about Veteran’s day and what it means to us.
Veteran’s day to me is a immense and personal thing. The most important veterans in my life are my husband and my grandfathers. My husband served for 10 years in the Army with two deployments, one to Kosovo and one to Iraq. During this time I was an FRG leader and to this day I hope I made a difference in a young spouses journey that is being married to a service member. This picture below is the day that he returned from 15 months in Iraq. Thankfully his unit did not lose anyone, but other units were not as lucky.
My paternal step-Grandfather who passed was a Marine during Korea. He was a ground pounder and never really talked about it. My Maternal Grandfather is one of the reasons that I have a Master’s in Military History and why I did my first book. The cover of my first book is my grandfather’s plane. He was a Navy Reservist during Korea and flew overseas on a frequent basis.
I write my books in remembrance and thanks for all of those combat veterans who didn’t make it home, who made it home but just a shell of who they were, and those who are still in need of help. There is a music video from a band that is very pro military that makes me cry every time I watch it. So if you are ready with tissue, everyone should watch this music video and really watch the words that are on it.
I grew up on a Marine Corps base in NC, Camp Lejeune. After my dad was medically discharged after 17 years, I still lived just off base in Jacksonville, NC. The majority of my friends had at least one parent who was military, usually a Marine, but occasionally one of the other branches.
During the holiday’s my dad would go through the barracks and any Marine that wasn’t going home, came to our house. That meant 30 or more Marines invading your house for Thanksgiving. They would watch and play football while my mom and I, and any current girlfriends or wives would cook.
This was normal for me. I had more “Uncles” than anyone I knew. I am still in contact with several of those Uncles. Unfortunately, some have been lost over the years, but I wonder if any of them ever knew how much they meant to me. I was just a bratty kid, but as I got older, they were still around. It wasn’t quite as much fun getting lectured by them for drinking and partying with my friends as a senior in high school when some of them were barely 21 themselves!
One of my very best friends from high school, my prom date, the guy that taught me how to start a campfire, my partner in crime, Matt, joined the Army. I never expected it. But, it was what he and his wife decided was best for their family and so I supported him as best I could. He did what soldiers do and went to war. I was terrified by just the idea of what could happen. I have always been close with his mom and his wife is a good friend from high school as well. We were lucky, though Matt suffered a traumatic brain injury, he came home to us alive. He now lives in Colorado and works with an organization helping other veterans deal with Depression, PTSD and other health issues that our Veterans face in their daily life. The organization, Operation Grow 4 Vets, provides free medicinal marijuana to 1000’s of veterans suffering from the lasting effects that war can have on them physically and mentally. I am so proud to call him my friend, knowing that he is helping save lives. It might not be in a traditional sense, but what he is doing is so important.
To me, Veterans day means being thankful for those men and women who have agreed to protect our country and our freedoms from those assholes who would try and take it from us. They put their on lives on the line for people they have never met. They are true heroes in my eyes, and I am so proud to be able to say that I was raised by heroes. My dad, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Mark, Uncle Ray, Uncle Keysper and soooo many more. Thank you for being my Marines. Matt, you are amazing. I love you no matter what even if you did join the Army instead of the Marines 🙂
CBS This Morning did an interview with Matt about what he has been through, what medical marijuana has done to help him, and what it can to do for Veterans.
Please take a minute and check out the website for Operation Grow 4 Vets. The Veterans they help are relying on them to help fight here at home. Depression, PTSD, TBI’s, and many other illness they are suffering from that are the results of their time serving our great country. Doctors are so happy to get them hooked on opiates and other dangerous drugs instead of looking at this alternative that WORKS. They are always taking donations of time and money to help fund this program. The more money they get in donations, the more Veterans they can help, and 100% of your donation goes straight to Veteran’s programs.
They also have Facebook and Twitter pages that you can go to and help spread the word about what they are doing to help our Veterans.