As with every Veteran’s Day, I will call my father who served our country for 20 years in the Army and fought in Vietnam. If you met him, you would never know that he ran a successful EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)unit and was one of the top bomb guys in the Army during his service. Watching him play Jenga would be like watching Pablo Picasso paint…his steel reserve and unwavering hands are a force to be reckon with and you are sure to lose if playing against him. My Dad rarely talked about his time in Vietnam, however, what he has talked to me about was his time on Kauai where he got to meet my Mom on R&R.
During and after the Vietnam War, our soldiers coming back from Vietnam were treated with disdain for fighting in a war that they had no say in. My mother was treated with contempt on numerous occasions when it was known her husband was in Vietnam. So, when my parents had ten days together on Kauai, they were deeply touched by the love and aloha shown to them by our beautiful state of Hawaii. The kindness and respect bestowed upon them still moves my Dad to tears. That time nurtured their spirit and helped them through my Dad’s remaining tour. My mom remembers being at a restaurant on Kauai and coming out of the bathroom to find my father up on stage with the hula dancers. One of the ladies of generous size embraced my father and lifted his feet off the ground (and my Dad is not a little guy)in a giant loving bear hug. They were treated like royalty.
My parents are both relieved that our servicemen are no longer treated poorly by their fellow Americans. So, in some ways we are moving forward! Let’s take a moment today and remember our servicemen and women, as well as their families who are also making sacrifices for our great country. Let’s help melt the toxic divide of our country by remembering our own Aloha spirit when we are with others who hold different political beliefs. Let’s take the time to connect on a heart level and show each other the kindness that we are capable of. We can make a difference!