Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Through the Eyes of a Veteran – ‘In Our Mind’s Eye’

It’s amazing how unique we all are…you know? We have this incredible mind that can think, rationalize, contemplate, create, remember details of our early childhood, and feel an array of emotions – joy, anger, fear, sadness, love, shame, embarrassment, confidence, nervousness, and pride…just to name a few.

As human beings we are all complex energy sources miraculously made. Some of us are super intelligent (not me, unfortunately); some have more common sense than book sense; some brag about their accomplishments while others keep their successes to themselves…” close to the vest” as they say.

The thing is…we are all incredible and we have the ability and opportunity for the most part to make those around us feel good about themselves, boost their confidence, and celebrate the special individuals they were created to be.

The Bible (Psalms 139:14) tells us we are “beautiful, fearfully, and wonderfully made.” I believe that. I believe that each one of us was put on this earth for a purpose. Hopefully, the chances that present themselves to us are not wasted and that when we see a need we respond accordingly and muster up enough care, interest, and willingness to help.

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I wish I had a lot of money…not to spend it on myself; my joy comes in the giving not so much the getting, I think if I had substantial funds, I would purchase a travel vehicle and I would try my best to meet as many veterans and their family members as possible and listen to their stories, really listen and ask them if I could write about it. Our veterans have been through so much, seen so much and too many of their experiences will go untold, they will lie in a box in a dry dusty attic, or become ashes in the fireplace and too many family members will never hear the true accounts of their loved one’s military encounters until such a time comes that they are no longer here to tell it, hear it or record it.

Often when I write my weekly column or this blog, I listen to music, and I am moved beyond words. There is one instrumental that I like a lot…it’s called “The Americas” Logical Drift (The Americas Book of Love Vol 1 (2014) It has sounds that in my mind’s eye a vision of the White Cliffs of Dover; sandy beaches and sea oats that bend in the ocean breeze across our Eastern Seaboard and even of the Arlington National Cemetery where countless headstones that embellish the landscape tell the silent tale.  Music is sometimes restful but at the same time stirring.

Prior to my husband becoming gravely ill, we planned programs at our church to honor our veterans, their incredible bravery, and their undeniable sacrifice. Between 2011 – 2015 we celebrated what it meant to be a veteran, to have served, to have suffered, to have bonded, to have devoted their knowledge, skills, training, and perseverance to do their level best to protect, serve and survive.

It was such a joy for me to write and express as best I could what little I had heard firsthand from my husband’s personal testimony but also from the many comments, remembrances and references other veterans from all branches had shared with me.

The last ‘program’ we co-wrote was the best in my book. Our Preacher whose Dad had also served in Vietnam helped create and build a large duplicate aircraft that looked so real it was incredible. The basis of the story was about three soldiers who were deployed to war. Each had a distinct perspective on religion…one was an Atheist; one an Agnostic and one a true believer…a Christian who loved the Lord with all his heart. The three men had different views at the onset, however, things changed after they had served side by side.

In the opening scene family members old and young, wives, husbands and parents went to the airport hangar to see their loved one board the plane. Once boarded the Chaplain prayed for their safety and in the very last scene, the plane landed at home but with only two of the three who had become each other’s best friend and who would greet their waiting family.

During the writing, planning, and staging of the play, it was especially important to my husband that the sounds related to the story be as original as possible…he was adamant about it. He wanted the sound of the aircraft taxing and taking off and the landing too when the wheels met the runway; the sounds of the environment once in battle and the whole theme he wanted to be as realistic as possible. The sound effects had to be exactly right, and no decision was final to earmark which sounds were used without searching almost every sound effect option possible. The sounds of gunfire, the sounds of the Huey blades – a sad but a welcoming sound to the troops…their salvation…sounds of a means to transport the injured and deceased filled the church sanctuary.

Quite a few of the actors were in fact veterans…Vietnam veterans. Old camo BDU military issued field uniforms with pants, boots, flat top O.D. hats were both donated and loaned for the project…and the soundtracks were beautiful but haunting musical compositions from authentic films about war.

Our church was full that night and the essence of the love and ‘brotherhood’ between the three soldiers was clear. My better half and I were so proud, not of ourselves, but of the leadership of the Lord to create the play, the scenery, the acting and the props.

It was the last play we wrote together before my one and only true love husband transitioned into Heaven eight months later. I feel so blessed and I am so happy we were able to have worked on this meaningful project together. He directed me in the writing, and he influenced important aspects of the Veteran’s Day weekend event. He inspirated me throughout our entire life together. I miss him…so much. He was and will always be…my hero.

We ALL have talents, abilities, and opportunities…it’s what we do with them that count. There are a gazillion veteran stories yet to be told, shared and that would touch lives. Our veterans deserve all the attention, acknowledgement, and honor we can muster.

Last word, fully embrace your veteran…love him or her to the fullest, savor every second of every minute of every day you have with them and think about the creative ways you could lift them and other veterans you may know up further…through your music? Do you author poems or lyrics? Do you paint? Could you volunteer at a V.A. hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility? Just think about it…but in the meantime, listen to them, they have “been there, done that” …that being said, they all deserve more than we could every repay. God bless our veterans.

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