I am giving thanks this week, for the country I call home, for the chance to hug my father at the airport after returning home from Vietnam and for the chance to finish college, all because I did make it home.
I’m giving thanks for a great wife, great kids, great grandchildren and two really great great-grandchildren. I’m also giving thanks for a great church and pastor, for friends, and for so many other good folks in my life who have touched my heart and soul.
And, I’m thankful for good health, even as I write this short version of “A Veteran’s Story” from a hospital bed. Pancreatitis put me in here last Wednesday but with any luck I should be home this Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, which I’m thankful for.
I’m thankful for talented medical personnel whose training and talents will get me home in time for Thanksgiving.
Thankfully, my pancreas has calmed down, my gaud bladder comes out tomorrow, and I’m thankful my gaud bladder will meet its end with the skillful hands of my surgeon, Doctor Harper, a Gulf War veteran.
I remember my Thanksgivings in the military, never at home, but with my family of very special brothers and sisters.
Sometimes the turkey was hot, sometimes old Tom Turkey finally emerged from the C-ration can he was ‘stuffed’ in during World War II, but much better than a can of ham and lima beans from the same era.
I’m thankful for the many personal friendships created by “A Veteran’s Story” and I’m especially thankful the article has been the catapult to reunite veterans who haven’t seen or talked with each other since the guns fell silent in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam. I’m thankful for friends like Pat Buchanan and Grady Vines, both retired Green Berets and selfless American Legion Riders, who took the time from their own busy lives, and yes, their aches and pains, to visit a brother suffering a few of his own aches and pains.
I’m thankful my country may finally be waking up from the nightmare of Rip Van Winkle politics in Washington, D.C., and I’m thankful, and even relieved, that the entire world may finally be waking up after the nightmare in Paris. I’m thankful a coalition of many faiths will possibly be the demise of an evil distortion of one faith.
Folks, I’m just thankful. Life’s journey is not easy, everything is not fair, and there never has been or ever will be ‘a level playing field’ in a world teeming with so much evil. But life does go on, and the kind of life one choses to lead will decide their measure of thankfulness.
A very unusual “A Veteran’s Story”, that’s for sure, but that’s the best I can do from a hospital bed at 0300 in the morning. May our men and women in uniform have hot turkey for Thanksgiving, and may we all be thankful for what they do.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks.
Pete Mecca is a Vietnam veteran, columnist and freelance writer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or aveteransstory.us.