So everyone knows today was Veteran's Day.
For some people, that means a day off of work. For kids, it's just a day with no school. For others, it's a day of rememberance to those that left to fight and never got to come home; or a day spent missing a loved one who is currently overseas.
For me it is a day of appreciation, but it always hasn't been that way. I am not a huge "pro-war" type of person (as I am sure those of you who followed my dad's blog would suspect of me). Most of my life my feelings on war and those who served were that of extreme apathy. I was bored by war lessons in history class, I was disinterested in people's aspiratons to go off to basic training and fight for our country, frankly I was bored of the entire concept.
My only grandfather was a US Veteran. We had photos of him in his uniform hung in my house and it was rare to ever see grandpa leave the house without one of his Veteran hats on. He and my grandmother were often stopped so people could shake his hand and thank him for his service. Occasionally someone would pick up their tab at one of the restaurants they frequented with no other explanation than that they were thankful for what he did for our country.
Hearing my grandparents tell stories of those acts of kindness always brought a smile to my face. I appreciated the fact that people appreciated my grandpa, even if I didn't fully understand why.
This year, the day before Veteran's Day, I kept having thoughts at work. "Elizabeth, you need to call your grandpa tomorrow and thank him, talk to him." and I wanted so badly to do that. Just thank him, see how he is doing, if he got a good free meal today, hear stories about people sharing stories of their loved ones who fought alongside my grandpa, just talk.
I lost my grandfather on April 1st of 2012.
I miss him every day and think of him often. This day especially.
While I wish I could have called him to wish him a good day, I got lost in thoughts of what else I wanted to say to him. Tell him about my job. Hearing how proud he is of me. Apologize for not visiting more often. Hearing what he thought about my tattoos. Listening to him recall time spent together when I was too little to remember. Laughing at a silly joke he made. Telling him "No" I still don't have a boyfriend. Making a comment about my dad and then listening to a slew of stories of his childhood recalled by Grandpa. Hearing a story about one of his and my grandmother's many vacation adventures (that I had most likely heard a hundred times already). Eventually getting bored of the conversation and getting off of the phone, after many "I love you"'s and promises to call again soon.
I wonder so often what he would say to me if he were still here today. I wonder what his biggest hope was for me. I wonder what advice he would have. If he were to see me fall in love and get married, he would have been the best source for stories and advice seeing as how he and my grandma are the closest thing to a Happily Ever After that I have ever witnessed.
So while I appreciate all of those who served and those who are doing so currently, this day for me is really just spent thinking about my own personal hero, my Grandpa Jim.
This post is just my formal "Thank You" to him since I can't tell him out loud anymore.
So, Thanks, Grandpa. For everything.
Love you forever, Miss you for always.