Home of the Free because of the Brave

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Yesterday was Veterans Day, the day we celebrate all those who have served and sacrificed for our country.

I grew up an Army brat. I watched my father walk out the door each morning with shined boots and a pressed uniform. I grew up hearing words like duty, honor, brotherhood, and sacrifice. I was surrounded by other military families that lived those same values. We lived in a world where respect was expected, the flag was honored, and patriotism was felt daily.

It was a wonderful way to grow up and I often feel remorse that my children don’t get to experience that same environment. I worry that they don’t fully understand and value the sacrifices that have been made for them and their freedom since they aren’t looking it in the eye daily in the same way I was at their age.

I look at my father and see a soldier. He will always be a soldier in my eyes.

My children, though, only have seen him in the role of a science teacher prior to his retirement. This Veteran’s Day I felt led to share with them a little glimpse of Pop pop’s life, when I was a child, in hopes of helping them better understand what we are really celebrating on Veteran’s Day.

It began with a lesson on the History of Veteran’s Day and a definition of what a Veteran is:

“What is a Veteran?

A Veteran whether active duty, discharged, retired or reserve-

is someone who, at one point in their lives, wrote a blank check made payable to

“The United States of America” for an amount “up to and including his/her life.” – unknown

I then was able to share stories with them about Pop pop and his life when he was active duty Army.

Then the kids all made thank you cards for my Dad for his service and sacrifice and we planned to celebrate Veteran’s day with him and my mom.

Tuesday the whole family drove out to Ohio.

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The first thing the kids did was give Pop pop their cards.

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Then we took Mimi and Pop pop out for a Veteran’s Day lunch. We went to one of my Dad’s favorite restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings. This was Tyler’s first time ever eating there. He was enthralled with the 20+ TV screens playing sports. I’ve never seen him sit so well at a restaurant before. 🙂

Lunch with Pop pop.

Lunch with Pop pop.

After lunch we drove over to Lehman’s, a favorite store of ours!

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Lehman’s is an Amish hardware store that sells everything from tools and oil lamps to food mixes and toys. There is something for everyone! The little boys loved the toy room. At the end of our visit Mimi told the kids they could each pick a soda for the car ride home.

IMG_5207The soda choices are incredible. There are about 200 different soda brands and flavors to choose from ranging from delicious to bizarre, as you can see in this photo.

The kids all made their choices…

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I picked the Shirley Temple which brought back such sweet memories of visiting my grandma’s home as a child. During cocktail hour G.G. would make each of us kids a Shirley Temple to enjoy while we munched on chip and dip.

It was a perfect ending to the day.

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Happy Veteran’s Day…

to those who have served,

to the military spouses who have sacrificed,

to those who have been led by duty, honor and brotherhood,

and to all that enjoy the freedom they have fought for.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

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