I have been incredibly fortunate.

My father turned eighteen in 1944. He was in the Army, but at the very end of World War II. All I know of his time in the service was because of a picture of him in uniform. He was stationed in Hawaii and was assigned as a unit clerk.

His younger brother (by 20 months) was in the army, as was their youngest brother before Vietnam heated up.

Despite being the perfect age to be affected by Vietnam, I only knew two people who were in the military during the late 60s. One was a friend’s brother who was assigned to the band. The other was a close friend from college who did get to see Vietnam, but not in combat.

None of my brothers served.

Son considered the military for a short time, but decided to take other avenues.

A former neighbor is in the Marine Reserves. He has been overseas, but not in combat. One of Son’s friends is in the Army Reserves. She has not been called up for extended deployment.

None of this makes me any less grateful for the courageous women and men who have and do serve. In recent years, many have been overtaxed – deployed over and over and over since few enlist.

I thank the brave people who help me keep my freedom, including my freedom of speech.

I pray for the souls of those whose bodies fill national cemeteries and for those who never returned home. I pray for the well-being of the troops who have returned – many not whole in either body or spirit. I pray for the families who sacrifice along with their soldier fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.

I pray that soon, very soon, we may learn to live in peace with one another – showing respect for each other and our respective views and opinions.