Veterans Day was always special to my dad. So was the United States. He valued our freedoms and considered our freedom to be a privilege. He loved our country. He was a deep and wonderful man. During the turbulent 60s and the anti-war demonstrations he vehemently voiced his opinions about the right they (the protesters) had to demonstrate. He did not agree with their turn towards violence. However he also vehemently supported their right to burn the flag. After all, he said, it is also the only endorsed way to dispose of bedraggled worn-out flags.
When I was in 8th grade, my social studies teacher had us following the entire primary season. He had us choose candidates and come up with reasoned, factual positions on which candidates we could support. As a result of my intense involvement, when it came to be November and it was presidential election time, my parents had me accompany them to the polls. When it was my dad’s turn to vote, he had me come into the voting booth to watch him pull the various levers. The polling place judge tried to stop him. She said that since I wasn’t of age and wasn’t a registered voter I couldn’t go in. My dad explained that I was going to watch him vote. She said ‘it is supposed to be a private vote’. My dad said ‘It is my privacy. If I prefer to put the curtain on top of my head and show the whole room whom I am voting for, that is my right’. She said ‘how do i know you won’t let her do the voting’. My dad rolled his eyes and said something like ‘do i look like the kind of guy that would let a kid vote in my place’??? When she still tried to prohibit it, he pulled the curtain to the side using his head and prepared to vote in front of me and everyone. At that point is when she sighed and allowed me to go in.
Needless to say I never forgot the moment. i never forgot the value place on the right to vote. I was over the moon with the process from then on. The process….not always the candidates!
Getting back to my point. Veterans Day was special to dad. He always attended the parades. Every flag and every veteran that came past it….he stood up for them. He took us to those parades. He took the grandchildren to the parades (if they didn’t take place on a school day, that is). He was outraged by 2 things: (1) that the kids had school on veterans day; and (2) that Santa was at the end of the Veterans Day parade. He thought that was absolutely unnecessary and ridiculous. When we lived in the Midwest schools were never closed on Veterans Day.
Out here in Arizona, they are all closed on Veterans Day (as far as I know). Wish you were here dad! Love you and miss you. thank you for all of your precious lessons.
I thought about my dad a lot yesterday, too. It was Marine Corps birthday. Here is the link to that post, too. https://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/semper-fi-what-my-dad-taught-me-after-the-marines/