Today as we recognize the millions of men and women who have served in our armed forces, we also need to find a way to express our appreciation to our veterans’ caregivers.
During WWII my dad was a crew chief stationed in the South Pacific. The picture of him next to the plane was taken in 1943. His job was to keep the B-25’s in his squadron flying. One day when a new pilot arrived, someone asked him what he wanted painted on the side of his plane. The pilot shrugged and said, “I don’t care.”
Knowing my mother desperately wanted her name on a plane, Dad got a buddy to paint the heart and Mom’s name on the new pilot’s plane. When the pilot saw it, he had a fit. Dad happily removed it. (He’d gotten the picture while the paint was still wet.) When Mom received the photo, she squealed with delight. It was an image she treasured it for the rest of her life.
There were lots of surprises, lots of love and lots of struggles during their 56-years of marriage, including the six-and-a-half years mom cared for dad following his debilitating stroke.
Today as we honor our country’s veterans, I hope we will also pay tribute to our veterans’ caregivers. Some of them are young, and the road ahead of them will be long and hard. The men and women who fight our wars are greatly changed by their experiences. Their lives, as well as the lives of their loved ones are forever changed. As a country, we must find a way to support our disabled veterans and their caregivers – not just on Veterans Day, but every day as they cope with the physical changes, the emotional traumas, and futures that look very different from the ones they had planned.