r-r-i-ng! Br-r-r-ing! “It’s late. Who could be calling now,” I thought. I lifted the receiver to my ear.
“Hi, Joanie. It’s me,” said my boyfriend, Dick. “I have something to tell you.” (He was going to school in Chicago. I was at home in Kansas City and planning to join him soon at Moody Bible Institute in The Windy City.) “I’ve joined the army. I’ll be leaving for boot camp soon.”
I sunk to the floor. I couldn’t believe it. What was I supposed to say? This was not in my plan. What was he doing? The Vietnam War was raging.
“I want to do my duty. I’m not in Bible School to avoid the draft,” he said. Before long he was serving on the DMZ line dividing North and South Korea. He sacrificed a lot to be there. So did his mom–and his dad. So did I. He stayed for a year. When he returned, I became Mrs. Richard L. Webb.
Today I honor Richard for serving our country so proudly.
I also honor my father, Robert W. Pressler, who as a gunner in WWII, saw his best friend die and barely escaped being shot down himself. When he came home, any loud noise nearly freaked him out. He sacrificed much. So did his mother–and his father. So did his girlfriend, my mom. After he returned, they got married. The effects of the war lingered. And then I was born.
This morning, the day before Veteran’s Day 2011, I thought of these stories. I’m not sure why. It all hit me differently than it ever has before. My husband and my father gave a part of themselves, a portion of their lives to help sustain my freedom–and yours.
And there are still boyfriends, fathers, sons, brothers, as well as daughters, mothers, sisters and girlfriends who are spending scary, lonely, challenging, sad nights and days away from those they love. Thank you, brave people. I’m truly grateful.
Will you join me in thanking the next soldier you see in a restaurant, airport, church, home or walking down the street? And will you pause to tell a veteran–or a veteran’s family–that you appreciate their sacrifice. If you do, leave a comment. I’d love to hear your story.
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.