It is a word that is used much too often to describe those who are, or have been, in military service. The word is “hero”.
Occasionally, my dad and I have been both described as such. We prefer not to be called “heroes”. It is not who we are, nor does it describe our actions. While we did a few things that were called above and beyond, we would simply describe our actions as doing our jobs. Those who are heroes are ordinary men and women who did extraordinary things in the most difficult of circumstances. Yet, they do not wish to be called heroes.
If one was to walk into my home, or my dad’s home, one would see it as any other home. Modestly decorated, very comfortable and much lived in. There are no display cases, no photos from our respective careers to be seen.
In my dad’s home, two certificates from his Army career hang on the wall. One is from his service with the 1st Medical Battalion from the 1st ID in Vietnam. The second is a “Certificate of Appreciation” issued in Summer 2001. The Bush Administration still felt too little recognition and appreciation was given to those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and wanted to make clear, once and for all, they were appreciated and valued by a grateful nation. The special recognition was much appreciated, especially by myself and my mom. Shortly after receiving the certificate and a few mementoes, the attacks of September 11th occurred. Later, we learned only certain servicemembers received the certificates of appreciation.
In my home, no certificates are displayed. One would not know I had served. Both Laurie and Andrea have suggested I should hang something on the wall. “It doesn’t need to be prominent,” they say. As a whole, it is not a big deal.
My dad and I, a simple acknowledgement is good enough.