This Veteran’s Day

These are some reflections I wrote a few years ago on Veteran’s Day and they are still true for me today.

This Veteran’s Day

I sit here in this outdoor amphitheater waiting for the program to start.

The wind gusting right off the ocean making my eyes water,

sun’s heat causing the sweat to pour down between my breasts.

I have on my red hat, my t-shirt with the unfurled flag on it already damp.

Why am I here when all my family and friends are barbecuing in the park?

I now realize it is not to honor a particular comrade or just out of patriotic fervor,

but, because my 7 years in the Navy formed me. I was at home in my uniform,

the life a fitting into a slot that was surprisingly satisfying

It is a time I am proud of and I left reluctantly

only because I felt a calling from God to a different sphere of service.

I did not even admit this reluctance, this wrenching to myself until much later.

I see my country and my allegiance differently because of it.

I am not blind to its’ faults, the two faces of magnanimity and greed.

Often like me our leaders do the right thing for the wrong reason or

the wrong thing for the right one.

Sometimes they aren’t the ones I’d choose but they’re still mine.

And I am free here to praise or criticize or pray for them as I want.

So when they march in with those stars and stripes I will stand,

my hand will go over my heart and I will belt out, mostly off key, the anthem

For on this Veteran’s Day I think of the many that defended her

and some who died or suffer still;

some reluctantly, some out of duty or devotion and I am one.

Diantha Zschoche 8/08