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Why Celebrating Veteran's Day Is Important... Everyday

by Megan Roche 4 years ago in veteran

Not just on Veteran's Day, but every day.

If you are like me, you have veterans in your family, you know someone who is currently serving, or you have youngsters in your life who have decided to enlist in the armed forces instead of going to college. I've been lucky enough to gain a stepdad who has taught me the importance of serving your country.

In 1991, my stepdad was in the US Navy, serving aboard USS Wisconsin or BB64. He was a Quartermaster. He drove the boat. He literally had a license to drive a war vessel. Now BB64 is a museum ship that is visited by hundreds of people every single day.

BB64 has become like a second home to me, much like it was a second home to my stepfather when he served aboard her in the early 90s. I've visited this ship myself and stood exactly where he stood watch on the decks, saw where he slept, used the bathroom, visited the dentist, mailed letters home to my Oma and Papa, you name it, I've visited it.

When I was 10, we took our first trip to BB64. I remember my mom saying to my brother that this day was important to our stepfather and we would probably be there for a long time. At 10 and 7, we were extremely bored as we looked at this big grey ship that held nothing but history.

The Wisconsin has become a popular vacation spot for not only my family, but extended family as well. My stepdad is treated like a celebrity there because he knows stories about this place that only he and other veterans know. The museum is like our second home.

Anytime I meet another sailor, I've always spoken so highly of my stepdad and the service that he has given to our country. People listen to me drag on, simply just because I am proud of him. But, I have bonded with him the most over the mutual interest in history that we share.

Since that first visit to Wisky, my stepdad has always been happy to share his stories from war time with my brother and I. He's been commander of his VFW, he travels to schools to speak about the Gulf War, and he has always instilled in me that giving yourself for your country is the biggest honor you can give.

In 2014, I was in graduate school and had the opportunity to put together a video project. As a student who was going to school for my Master of Arts in Journalism, I knew I wanted to make a short documentary type of film. What better than my stepdad? The things I have learned from him since about his service, the Navy in general, and what serving is really like is nothing short of incredible.

Yes, at times, he's geeky and he drags on about his time in war, but somewhere deep within me, I have always found the words he speaks as pride in his service to the United States armed forces. The fact that he shares his story is beautiful. He is one of millions who has served his country and served her proud. I am so proud to know someone who has given so much to our country.

While serving my country is something I would find difficult to do, I feel lucky and blessed enough to have heard first hand accounts of what wartime really felt like. Add in stories from my Papa, which he rarely discusses, and I'm doubly blessed.

On Veteran's Day, I'd like to take the time out to say Thank You. Thank you Keith for serving our country and for speaking out about your service. I'll always treasure your stories and I'll always listen. It fascinates me more than you know.

To those who have vets in their family, talk to them. Learn their stories. Listen. Once they leave this world, you can't ever get those stories back. Some of which are the most important stories you will ever hear in your lifetime.

veteran

Megan Roche

13 year old fangirl trapped in a 26 year old's body. Journalist by degree. Proud Paula Abdul fan. 3.19.07

"You don't write because you have to say something, you write because you have something to say." --F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Read next: Being Jewish in the US Military

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