Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 11/11/2010 [Archive]

Thank You to All Our Veterans

Thank You to All Our Veterans

By Martha Randolph Carr

My late father, Rev. Dabney Carr was a veteran of WWII. He served in the Pacific and lied about being 17 so he could sign up a little early. The only stories I have from his experience are anecdotes about an army truck driving over his foot, which gave him problems his entire life, learning to type with hundreds of other GI's sitting on a vast floor in the returning cargo ship and being one of the few who didn't get seasick because of the temperamental stomach he dealt with on land.

He was infamous for getting in the meal line twice but no one stopped him because they were often not interested in eating at all.

However, he never spoke of the other men who served with him and may have died or were wounded or of any battles. He was a hero in my eyes anyway but for things like letting me stand on his shoes while we danced around the room or because he could make the perfect pancake. Besides, there were so many veterans from his generation that I took it for granted that when called, Americans served and often sacrificed their lives in order to give those who we love the chance to live in a democracy.

It wasn't until I was much older that I started to understand what an enormous, unselfish gift we've been given over and over again by different generations to be able to make memories with our children and spouses. Many of those who are able to return even continue the gift, like my dad, by taking all of the sting out of warfare.

That's sometimes had the unfortunate side affect of leaving the rest of us a little lacking in gratitude or going out of our way to not only remember the veterans but their families and say thank you.

Right now, we are in a war in two different distant locations, Iraq and Afghanistan and there are thousands of men and women valiantly serving to promote the right of others to decide their own fate. Their service is being felt not only there but in places like South Korea to preserve the peace or on bases in Germany and the Pacific.

Even when the tours of duty are on US soil, there is the willingness to pack up and move when reassigned without quitting or even whining. That's a lot of surrender to a greater good that many of us may never face in our lifetimes. The least we can do is remember to say thank you on an ongoing basis, support legislation that cares for wounded and older veterans and tell our representatives we want to see better benefits for housing and education for all veterans of the armed forces. Politics has no place in any of those decisions.

Make a new resolution to regularly volunteer at nearby veterans' charities and ask how you can be of service. You can start with the USO,, who has been serving US troops since 1941 and has the motto, 'Until Everyone Comes Home'. They have lots of great suggestions on how to get involved.

A special word of thanks to reader Kathy Hawk, who is the proud mom of Cpl. Justin P. Hawk, USMC, who is serving overseas in Afghanistan and to all of those who serve in harm's way with him so that we can have choices. Thank you for believing in democracy so much that you are willing to offer all that you have so that ours is preserved and others may have the opportunity to know it too.

And lastly, thank you to all of our veterans of previous wars who valiantly gave of themselves in order to help others, including my dad, Dabney Carr and then quietly went about the business of building a family and a life. We are forever grateful.

Martha's latest book is the memoir, A Place to Call Home. Email Martha at:

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