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  • Autumn Quiles, LCSW

Veteran's Day

Yesterday, like many others in the country, I took the day off. I spent the day with my family and we piddled around and we talked about Veterans.

We talked about war and we talked about peace time too. We talked about wounded veterans- those who have been wounded on the outside, and the inside too. We talked about service and our country and our country's politics. Several members of my family are veterans. And, a few times during the day, I was reminded that this country has not always been kind, or grateful to, Veterans.

My Dad, a Vietnam Vet, often spoke about this. I was a child when Veterans returned from that war and I didn't understand what waited for them when they came home. I remember watching one of my Dad's favorite movies, The Deer Hunter, about that period of time. It sparked some firm convictions on my part that have shaped how I will treat Vets for the rest of my life.

My Puerto Rican father-in-law was a Korean Vet and he was largely segregated from the Caucasian soldiers. Similar to the Borinqueneers- an all Puerto Rican unit of the Army. All of his wartime pictures have brown and black faces; he was never photographed with his white counterparts. My husband shared his gratitude that, in these times, there is less discrimination toward minorities in the military and he hopes the country will continue to move forward against racial discrimination. I celebrated this with him.

My friend, musician Matt Sabatella, wrote a post about a powerful experience he had while playing for a Veterans Day service on Monday.

I think my most enjoyable moment of the day was having a few minutes to speak with a local Dad named Dan. My kids like Dan's kids. Dan and I do school stuff together. Dan has the prettiest, smartest, wife around (well, not prettier or smarter than me :) ). Dan spent a lot of years in the Navy and now he's back in college. Dan's not a big talker, but there is an easy way about him. He has a quiet strength and a sharp wit that I have only seen in people who are Veterans. I thanked him for his service. He told me about all the awesome Veteran's Day discounts he was getting around town.

There were a lot of Veterans I missed yesterday. A lot of Veterans I can't thank out-loud. But I'm sure that is true for all of us. So, I thanked Dan. Who did you thank?

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