Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers
Our middle school marked Veteran's Day with an assembly - we honored the town's veterans, viewed the flag ceremony and listened to a speaker: Lt. Col. Patrick Downes, a 1993 graduate of West Point and a current professor there. We do this every year on this day, with student speakers who share poems and bits of information about the significance of Veteran's Day. But this year's speaker struck a special chord. He spoke about the seated veterans and the fine examples they set for every generation of soldiers that followed, he spoke of his own service from stations as far flung as Italy and Afghanistan, and then he spoke of his children - seated right there in the front row of the audience.
I could not see much more of his two little boys than their blond heads and the backs of their red and orange sweatshirts, but I did see that they sat straight up when their father spoke about them, their upturned faces absolutely still while he talked. They had moved many times in their young lives, and gone long months without seeing him. They had waited patiently for phone calls and Skype sessions to catch a glimpse of his face and hear the sound of his voice. They missed him, they worried. They yearned for him to be home for good. And today, he wanted to let them know that they had also served their country and made sacrifices in their own important ways. I imagined their beaming faces as they listened to their Dad, grateful that he was so close at last, and proud that he had remembered to thank them, as well.