For the first Veterans Day ever, I actually know what my dad did in the Military.
The fact that I was born in Virginia has always been a conversation starter--as you would never know I was a native Suthuhna--I've got no accent and I don't call every soda a "Coke" (although I do eat grits with Tabasco Sauce). I was born there because my dad was stationed in the Army at the time--and my mom moved out there with him. Dad already had a college degree--and ended up getting a very low draft number--so he decided to enlist. But the conversation would always come to a stop when the question was raised about what he did in the Army--because I could never give them an answer.
Growing up, I would see my Dad in his old fatigues--usually when he was going to do something that required getting very dirty--like fixing the car. I would ask him "What did you do in the Army?" and the answer would either be "That's classified" or "As little as possible". (My father is a man of few words--my gift of gab comes from my Mother). So I would just let it go. Imagine my surprise then when my wife asked Dad the same question over the Labor Day Weekend this summer--and we actually got an answer.
When the question was first asked I chuckled--expecting one of the above pat answers--but this time my Dad said that he worked in Military Intelligence. My wife asked what that entailed--and Dad answered that he was part of a team that deciphered intercepted messages from the North Vietnamese Army. My wife then asked if he helped to head off any major attacks by the enemy. Dad said that he didn't think so--but they did find out how much help the Chinese were providing NVA in the early 1970's. Maybe after 39-years my Father's military experience was finally "de-classified"--but it was really neat to finally know.
I've always thought it was lucky that Dad got to stay stateside during the war. I've got a couple of Uncles that served in Vietnam--and they can tell you some stories that would make your hair curl. He served his hitch--got his honorable discharge--and moved back to Wisconsin to start living the American Dream.
So on this Veterans Day, I'd like to thank my favorite Vet--Bob Krause--for his service (now that I know exactly what it was). The same goes for everyone else who served--it's because of you that the United States continues to be the best place to live.