MVCN Magazine by and for CaregiversFall 2015
Veterans Day: Celebrating My Family History
By Ben M.
Military service is a tradition in my family. Many kids learn about Veterans Day in school, but they only know what their teachers tell them. Military kids understand even more about what it means, because our families have lived it.
My family’s military history goes way back, even back to the Civil War. One of my ancestors fought in World War I. He lost his left eye and had to wear a patch for the rest of his life. Instead of letting his injury slow him down, he used it to help others. He became an eye doctor after the war. We have a statue of him, called a “bust,” that was passed down over the years. Every time I see it, it reminds me that even if something bad happens, you can still learn and grow and help other people.
My mom’s grandfather was a ball turret gunner on a B-17 in World War II and flew bombing missions over Europe. His brother flew in a B-24 and was shot down over Berlin. He didn’t survive, and his family did not know what happened to him until after the war ended. His other two brothers served in the Navy. All the boys in his family served in World War II because they wanted to protect our country. Because they served, they taught their own children what it means to do the right thing, even if it is not popular. My granddad, the son of the ball turret gunner, volunteered to join the Marines during Vietnam when others avoided the draft. He helped evacuate people at the end of the war. My other grandfather, my dad’s dad, was a Green Beret, and his father, my great-grandfather, served in Korea.
My dad was a medic in the Army and went to Iraq twice. I was too little to remember it, but I can see how he is proud of his service even though he came home with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. He said if he could go back in time, he would do it again. He has taught me that it is important to do the right thing, even if it is hard.
For our family, every day is like Veterans Day, because we are who we are because of the sacrifice of the veterans in our family. Our family’s military service is part of who we are, and who I want to be. Someday I want to serve like my dad, my grandfathers, my great-grandfathers, and all our other family members who served. It will be hard, but it is because of the history and sacrifice of our great veterans that our country is so great. I will be proud to be a veteran and teach my own children the real meaning of Veterans Day.