Serving in the United States military is a time-honored tradition in my family. I learned early in life to respect soldiers and veterans knowing “freedom is not free.”
Having lived through the Vietnam era, I realized one didn’t have to approve of the war, but our duty is to respect the men and women in the Armed Forces.
I will not list everyone in my family who put on the uniform and served to protect our freedom, but my three nephews, nephew-in-law and grandnephew served in the military.
One nephew recently retired after serving 20 years in the military and it was no surprise when his only son joined the Army. He served two tours spending time in both Iraq and Afghanistan before deciding to leave the military. He wanted to spend more time with his wife and young children, find a job and continue his education. They settled in Washington state.
If the military called him and said “we need you,” he’d serve again. But, he served and is entitled to whatever a veteran should receive, the least of which is a parking space at a home improvement store in his community.
Recently, he was making a quick stop to pick up something for his yard. The home improvement store graciously has provided parking places for veterans. He wheeled his truck into a spot and was heading inside when a woman stopped and asked in a demeaning manner if he was proud of himself.
Fortunately for her, the grandnephew was by himself. His response was to ignore her and walk into the store.
He did make one mistake, when he got home he told his wife, who in turn told the rest of the family on Facebook. She, like me, is furious.
A more respectful version of her Facebook post follows:
“He parked in VETERAN parking because he is a veteran. And some woman had the nerve to ask him if he felt special. He rarely talks about his service. Never asks for any type of thanks or compensation for his service. He tries very hard to not even draw attention to the fact that he has served. But ya know what? He is special. He put his life on the line for stupid people like her to be able to open their traps and speak to people like this. Had I been with him she’d be bleeding and I’d be in jail. Never disrespect someone who fought for our country.”
All I can say is the woman truly is lucky the trained soldier handled the situation and not the women in his world. She truly is lucky there are men and women like my grandnephew who devoted part of their lives to keep us safe.
To combat the crazies in the world, my suggestion is the next time you see someone parking in a veteran’s parking spot take the time to thank them for their service because you and I know someone may be waiting to be disrespectful to them.