We are blessed with many freedoms that I, like many others, take for granted most days. I do NOT want to take it for granted today...Veteran's Day.
Many of the freedoms I enjoy come with a high price that many brave men and women throughout the years have paid so I can be sitting here on my couch writing this.
I truly believe that the strength of our nation was built on the ability to feed and defend ourselves. I think the future of our country also depends greatly on maintaining both of these abilities.
I'm lucky to have both farmers and soldiers in my family...more farmers than soldiers and some of the soldiers were also farmers, but farmers and soldiers nonetheless.
My maternal grandfather fought in World War II. He was one of several boys in his family and I think all - or at least most - of them were drafted into service.
During the war, farmers were given an exemption from the war so that the country could continue to feed itself and its soldiers. However, my grandfather's family only had one exemption and that went to the oldest son until the next son turned 18. Then the exemption was passed to that son and the oldest went to war. This happened more than once and eventually it was my grandpa's turn.
Here he is in uniform. Not sure where or when this was taken but I recognize the attitude as well as the ears...that's my grandpa!
I believe he was shipped to Europe in late 1944 and was almost immediately captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp.
Several years ago, my grandma gave me his German Language Guide from the war. She wrote this in the back cover:
"Your grandfather was captured by the Germans on Dec. 17, 1944 near Luxembourg and was freed by the British in May 1945. The Army issued this booklet to him on his arrival overseas."
Those are powerful words that strike such emotion in me. I cannot imagine what he went through in those five months. He did not talk about his time there until his later years and then mainly to my father, his son-in-law.
Luckily he did make it through and came home to marry my grandma and raise eight children. He's been gone six years now.
Thank you, Grandpa! You are loved. You are missed.
So, on this Veteran's Day, let's say a prayer for all of the soldiers who have served or are serving our country, including my cousins who are Marines (I can't believe they are old enough to drive, let alone to be soldiers!).
God bless and watch over you.
Disclaimer: I didn't fact check everything in this post with my mom and grandma so if family is reading this and I didn't get something right, let me know!