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Thank You Son, by an Army Mom
by Eddy Robey

Over a year ago, I went browsing on a site where my recipes used to appear on
the web. Since I have done many articles on Kosher Cuisine for Jewish
Holidays, it seemed a good idea to see how people wrote about other notable
occasions. I skimmed down the list for the topic heading Holidays, and looked
at the number of pieces listed for each one. When I reached Veteran's Day,
the number was zero.

My mind flew back many years, to when my boy told me he wanted to join the
U.S. Army. I was not happy with his decision, and thought he should finish
college first, but his heart was set on it. We chose his specialty together,
with an eye to his future, and started to prepare for the time apart,

He had been a golden child: blonde, blue-eyed, and friendly. When he
graduated from High-School, there were honors for being the captain of the
debate team, and playing varsity basketball. He had been offered a full
scholarship, and I asked myself why such a boy would want to "waste" his
future by going in the service.

His induction date arrived, and off he went to basic training. At the end of
that time, he came home for a visit. In his pocket was a brigade coin, for
being first in his group. Then he went to his specialization training. He
graduated first in his class, as well as being named both company and
battalion soldier of the month.

Another visit home, then off he went to yet more training. This time it was
tougher. He learned to sleep in a tree, live off the land, and jump from an
airplane. My boy earned the Green Beret that marked him as a member of the
U.S. Army Special Forces. He was nineteen years old.

Off to the Persian Gulf, where he served as part of Operation Desert Shield.
He has only told me a small part of what happened there. Eventually, he
returned with a partial disability rating, and finally went to college, where
he did as well as he had  everywhere else.

His eyes have a shadow behind them now. Too much death has passed before his
sight. He still sleeps with no motion whatsoever, as though he were in a
tree, and jumps wide-awake at the slightest movement around him. He will not
watch war movies; to him they are not entertaining. He goes to Jewish War
Veterans' meetings, and has long conversations with those who understand
where he has been.

I do not understand, and never will. I can only love him, and be proud that
he has served his country well. There is evil in the world, and my son did
his part to try and end it. For this, I am grateful to him, and all the other
boys who have given their youth for freedom.

Thank You, Son. To me, every day is Veteran's Day.

This is an excerpt from
Not Just Chicken Soup
ISBN 1-929077-44-0
2001 Eddy Robey

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