Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veterans Day

I'm glad I have the opportunity to teach my children about the sacrifices made by our service men and women around the world. It all started a few years ago when an older cousin they knew enlisted in the Army and ended up in Iraq. We made him a care package and in return he sent some pictures of their camp. When Sarah and Rebecca saw the pictures, they couldn't believe what they saw. Everyone looked hot, sweaty and dirty. Everything was "army" green. They didn't have real beds, they slept on cots. Sarah especially made it a point to write to this cousin as much as she could.

The same year, another cousin (from a different side of the family) delivered homemade cookies that she had her children had made to Fred's dad on Veterans Day in honor of his service in Vietnam. He was extremely touched. What a great mom you are Katrine! I figured if she could do it, so could I. We don't have any local family, so we decided to find out which of our neighbors were vets and deliver to them the next year. Needless to say, our efforts were graciously recieved.

In years past, we have gone up to the VA Hospital in Asheville with some other homeschoolers and the children have lead the pledge to the American Flag before the start of that ceremony. After that gathering they would roam the crowd asking men and women if they were veterans and presenting a card of thanks if the answer was "yes."

This year, our 4-H group wanted to do something locally, so we visited 4 different nursing/assited living facilities and delivered cards and flowers.

One my favorite parts of Veterans Day this year was when we delivered cookies to a gentleman in our neighborhood that we had never actually met. Shamefully, this man lives directly across the street from us. We both have very long driveways and I have actually only seen him a half dozen times in 5 years. Each time he has been driving to the mailbox, turns around and drives home - never smiling waving or cracking the window for a quick hello. We found out this year he was in the Army for 30 years before retiring, so naturally, we wanted him to get some cookies.

We arrived at his house and rang the doorbell. He peeked out of the window, but was reluctant to open the door. "Hi! We're your neighbors," I called out. At that he cracked the door and then the girls took over..."We heard you were an Army veteran, so we just wanted to wish you a Happy Veterans Day and give you these cookies we baked to say thanks for your service." What an instant change. A smile took over his face and he came out to chat with us about his time in the service and his job as a college professor after leaving the Army. Then he invited us over to go swimming in the summer when he and his wife got the pool ready. (I didn't even know they HAD a pool!)

The girls couldn't believe the complete turn in personality once he discovered we had done something nice for him. The girls remarked about it later that he had done something nice for them (by serving) before they were even born. I think they get it, and that makes me a happy mom!

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