Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veteran's Day, Applebees, The "real" Real World and Taylor Swift

Yesterday was Veteran's Day. Yes, to most of us, just another blip on the calendar, another day gone by. But yesterday I was inundated with information on, by and about veterans. I am a veteran - I served 4 years in the air force back in the 90s - and I'm currently married to a military man, so I'm no stranger to the thought of honoring veterans. I think about what it means to be an American every day when I pass by the various military-themed accoutrements scattered around my house. I got emails from friends about their thoughts and feelings, both those who honor veterans and those who identify with them. It really gave me pause.

Discussing dinner plans with my dear husband, he suggested Applebee's for dinner, as they were offering free meals for military members. Sounds great! Sign me up. You just need an ID card (he's got that). But they also were giving meals to anyone who has ever served in the military - so you could bring in a photo of yourself in uniform or your separation papers and it would all be good. So I dug out a copy of my own DD214, military release papers, and it did cause me to do a little bit of reminiscing. Changed my FB pic to one from basic training. Said a little "thank you" for all the amazing friends I've made as a result of the military throughout the years. We got to dinner very early - like 1645 for you military minded folks (4:45pm for those who are not) - and expected to have a nice dinner with the blue-hairs. But alas; the military folks spilled out of the entryway and onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. The wait for our little party of 4 would be an hour. So it was an adventure, wranging kids, calling friends to make sure they got in on the deal, and just like we military folk are used to, we commenced to "hurry up and wait." After about an hour we sat down for our dinner, and it was amazing. The staff, completely overworked by the hundreds (more likely thousands) of military families who descended on them were polite, gracious, courteous and happy; the food was fast, hot and plentiful. It was so worth the wait. WHen I got home, I joined Applebee's fan page of Facebook and left a note of appreciation. They rock, very hard, as far as I'm concerned.

So after the kids were in bed, there was show on MTV, one of the cast members from the Real World Brooklyn was being redeployed to Iraq after he had served his time in the army and was discharged. He was "ready reserve," and like the name implies, he was ready to serve. I watched for about 15 minutes before I became so overwhelmed I almost vomited. I felt like I did when I read an article about 5 year old girls (of which I am the mother of one) in the Thai sex trade. I was overwhelmed by vertigo and emotion. I could not continue to watch. This moment of saying a tearful goodbye at the airport is in my future, as I have to wish my own dear husband a farewell for his own departure to Iraq. I realize that although I've taken past deployments in stride, this one is a horse of a different color. It will not be easy. I truly hope we make it through the other side as unscathed as we possibly can. I feel for this fellow's family - but I couldn't stand by and bear witness to their raw emotion. As a military family member, I feel it's my duty to support the families of all the other service members, and I normally would offer support, in this case, by learning their story.

So I retreated to the other room to read and think happier thoughts.

An hour later, when the war-themed show as over and we again watched TV together, my husband was bouncing back and forth between Top Chef (love Kevin! Jennifer - pick it up again! You can do it!) and the Country Awards, I watched Taylor Swift win not 1 but 2 major awards. And, true to form, she made me cry. My friends know that I will always cry at a Taylor Swift song (but she is dangerously close to entering the Toby Keith zone of writing songs that all sound the same. And so is Carrie Underwood. But that's a topic for another day). I like to think that it's the tears at the ready and the raw edges of my emotion that brought me to tears, but I know that it's that crazily-energetic and annoying 19-year-old wonder child.

Whew! What a day.


  1. Sorry to hear about Tony having to leave again. Let me know if you need anything!

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