The Veterans’ Day Parade around the Fayetteville (AR) Square was a Norman Rockwell painting of small town America. A middle school marching band played, our mayor in a fire truck bucket waved, and veterans from World War II through the Middle East conflicts displayed their colors. Master of ceremonies honored each service branch with its signature anthem. Flags waved in the breeze. A military family – father/husband, mother/wife and two small children– dressed in fatigues walked together. After all, conflict ripples through lives beyond deployment.
I count myself lucky. Out of three family members and four friends serving in Vietnam, two hometown friends deployed to Iraq, and one man currently active, all survive albeit with scars.
Made me proud of my community. Made me tall with shared heritage. Made me cry.