Recently a friend pointed out a sad truth: as long as our children have been alive, our country has been at war. This is in stark contrast to my childhood, when the only wars I ever heard about were in the pages of my history books.
That all changed on August 2nd, 1990. I remember hearing that the US was at war with Kuwait and not fully comprehending what that meant, even though I was much older than my children are now.
My children have never known life without the shadow of war. Their classmates have parents who’ve been deployed not once, but multiple times. They’re used to hearing casualty counts on the evening news, and are familiar with terms like “embedded reporter” and “friendly fire.”
Despite these differences, I’m not sure that my kids grasp the true sacrifice of our veterans and active duty military any better than I did as a child. In their minds, I’m afraid, all the talk about war and service and deployment and heroism fades into the background like any other “grown up talk.”
November 11th is Veteran’s Day. This year I’m making it a point to involve my children in local Veteran’s Day activities. More than that, though, I’ll be making an effort to help them understand what it means to serve our country. It’s a small step toward honoring those who currently sacrifice so much, as well as all those who’ve come before.
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Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.