My father was a veteran of the Korean War.
All of his life he was an active member of his local VFW. I’m sure those guys did a lot of things, but all I’m aware of is he cooked for bar-b-que fundraisers, called out the numbers at their bingos, things like that. The most important thing he did was play Taps on his trumpet at veterans’ funerals.
Just before his burial (this was 15 years ago) I kept thinking about how hard it would be not to collapse when they played Taps for him. I thought of a million things to give me the strength to make it through that moment.
It was a moment that never came. My dad was the Taps guy. Doh.
So there was a moment of silence at that point instead. I should have been relieved, I didn’t have to worry about collapsing, but I got angry. He’d spent so many years doing this for others and when his time came, there was no one to do the same for him. I didn’t have any brain left that day to think it out, that no one else was trained for this. I kept this all to myself, of course.
In honor of my father, I support three Veterans charities. My favorite is Help Hospitalized Vets. It’s a group that provides craft kits for patients in VA Hospitals. My father had been in and out of the VA for years and he used to rave about these kits and was so proud of all the things he made.
Here’s a pair of mocassins he made for me while in the hospital:
I can’t tell you how much these craft kits helped him pass the time or how they gave him the feeling of accomplishment.
T.S. Young can, he’s a veteran in Battle Creek, MI who recently sent me a thank you card.
I get a lump in my throat every time I receive one of these in the mail.
For all you vets and current soldiers out there, thank you.