I can still hear Taps floating across the Pennsylvania countryside. I remember clutching the U.S. flag, so carefully folded into a triangle, while tears streamed down my face as the Air Force officer said, "On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation…”
Mom had been a WWII Women’s Air Force Service Pilot (WASP) yet it took almost 30 years for the government to give WASPs honorary discharge papers. For Mom, it meant she could have a flag on her coffin. A year before this ceremony, my stepmother held a similar flag and wept at Dad’s funeral. He served in WWII and the Korean War and had life been different, would have been a career soldier. He loved the flag.
Today, young Josh is in Afghanistan, flying his Air Force jet as he tries to protect troops withdrawing from this confusing, conflicted country. He has already lost members of his squad and wonders if those of us at home even know what he is doing. In years to come, far too many wounded warriors will struggle with loss of limbs, PTSD, and difficult employment opportunities. The past. The present. The future. Mom and Dad were taken care of and supported.
For Josh and our wounded warriors - we owe them more than a parade and a medal. In any budget considerations, social services, and assistance, these men and women must come first in all decisons. Look into what donations you can make. I am taken with Fisher House Foundation which provides housing to military families as they receive medical treatment. To all my brothers and sisters in uniform: thank you!!! P.S. Check any non-profit through Charity Navigator to find organizations you can trust. (We want money to go to the right purpose and not into large salaries!)