I grew up in a military family. My father was in the Army. He did 22 years of service and two tours of Vietnam. Below is a picture of my Dad when he was a paratrooper in Vietnam. He was so young here. It's funny, his baby blue eyes always stand out to me in this picture.
Vietnam would not only play a major impact on my fathers life but would come back to haunt him years later. My father has been a patriot for his country since he was a teenager. Enlisting at a young age he would go on to make a career from that choice. For years growing up my father would never speak of Vietnam. It was the quiet elephant in his past. But it returned my 7th grade year to attack him with vengeance. Little did we know the chemicals his body was exposed to during those two tours of war would later ravage his body and mind. That year, the strong man I grew up seeing was replaced with a fragile soul. I really do not feel like going into all the details of his illness, just that I have mixed opinions about war and how our government treats our veterans. Nothing can be changed and what happened is what happened...but my Father has taught me many things and I have inadvertently inherited his fighting spirit.
Here is a random list of what my father has taught me...
- Never judge someone...everyone is walking their own path and no one knows why they make their decisions. They are their decisions...not mine.
- Family comes first...through everything family is indeed that...family.
- Take a stand against injustice. Making a conscience decision to not partake in anything that I feel in my heart is wrong keeps my heart pure and guilt free.
- Stand up for the weak. The underdog if you must call them always need a helping hand. I have entered many arguments and disagreements with this principle.
- Don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Walking to the beat of your own drummer is a liberating experience and it's nice to shine from outside the crowd.
- Never say never...life is too short to use that term freely.
- Don't be afraid of a bully. As an adult, bullies comes in cloaks of different variations but you still run into them. Never to pick a disagreement, but to stand my ground and stand up for what I feel is right.
- Be kind to everyone. My dad is a really kind guy. I love that my husband reminds me of my dad like this. They both are really strong men with very kind souls.
- Show respect to be people. This was ingrained into my mind as a child. But honestly, today many people lack this common practice. If someone is different than you, respect them and their beliefs. People often expect this to be done for them, but refuse to return the favor.
- Be polite. Yet another common practice often lost in today's society. I was taught you always say please and thank you. You open the door for others and you treat others as you would want to be treated.
- Life isn't fair. They never said it would be. Time and again I heard this term tossed around my household. Sadly, it's true. Use what you are given and be thankful for it. There are people out there fighting worse battles than yours. So suck it up and move on.
- Pick yourself up. My Dad has a fighting spirit. Life sometimes sucks. But NEVER let it rule you...brush yourself off and walk on.
ok...I've learned many more things from my Father...but my two year old is pulling me away from my computer yelling steps...aka...go downstairs. So I'll end with wishing everyone serving our country past and present a thank you!!!