By Guest Contributor, Caitlin of The Pearl & The Pilot
Growing up, I heard stories of my G-dad flying helicopters for the Navy, and of my Pawpaw being a flight engineer. While we were at Pawpaw’s house one day, he found papers from his time in the Navy, and come to find out, my G-dad signed the paperwork that sent him to Vietnam. They didn’t know one another then, and didn’t even know that this had happened until I was a teenager. That’s how it was, though. Man after man sent to war, the vast majority of their generation serving in the world wars, Vietnam, and Korea.
Because of my grandfathers being in war zones and my grandmothers going weeks or months without so much as a letter, when I met my soon-to-be-a-pilot now-husband, I wanted nothing to do with that lifestyle. I didn’t think I was prepared to be a military wife, nor a pilot’s wife. What I didn’t know was the pride that being a military wife brings and the selfless man I’d marry. I knew what incredible men my grandfathers are, but thought that was a fluke; that the men in our military were just like everyone else. And in some ways, they are, but in so many ways, they are so much more.
Our military today is built on the backs of our grandparents’ generation. They made our country what it is and our military the strongest in the world. And now, they’re forgotten. Even on Veterans Day, a day meant to honor those who served before us, oftentimes it’s just a day off in many Americans’ minds. This day isn’t meant to be about those who are serving now, despite the fact that they too deserve our thanks. Today is meant to be about those who paved the way; those who built the foundation for the military our spouses are blessed to serve in today.
Thank a veteran today. Buy them lunch, say “thank you,” or just listen. Ask them about their life and their service. Many of them don’t have their friends anymore to talk war with, like our spouses do. They don’t need elaborate gifts or memorials. Our veterans just want a few moments of your time to feel appreciated and to know that the sacrifices they made have made our lives that much better.
Caitlin is a proud Air Force pilot’s wife and the mastermind behind The Pearl & The Pilot. She firmly believes her loves– coffee mugs, wine, chocolate, and daffodils– are what get her through her day of wrangling her son and two yellow labs. Her hobbies, photography and cooking, and her BA in communication from Texas State, seem to have set her up perfectly for her new career as a wife, mama, and blogger. Follow The Pearl & The Pilot on Facebook and Twitter!