This hat is something really remarkable. Not because it’s a Vietnam Veteran hat, not because it’s decorated with pins, and not because it’s sitting on my kitchen table. It’s remarkable because my Father-In-Law, Grandaddy, finally feels like he can wear it. Not only does he wear it, but he wears it in public. And even though he wears this hat, and has two new knees due to his service, he never fails to walk up to another man wearing a similar hat, shirt or pin and say, “Thank you for your service”.
He served in Vietnam. He came home to shame and ridicule, and still got up every day and went to work. He still married his sweetheart, raised a family, and never talked about Vietnam, if he could help it. The way people who served in Vietnam were treated in this country at the time was disgraceful, so who can blame him?
What makes me happy this Veteran’s Day? Grandaddy still doesn’t talk much about Vietnam, but the fact that he wears this hat makes me happy. The fact that he is no longer ashamed of his service there, but hopefully is proud of it, makes me happy. I am even more happy that I am blessed enough to call him my Father-In-Law, and that he loves me like one of his own kids. I am proud of his service, and proud of him for finally showing a little pride in his service, too. Grandaddy is a very humble man who doesn’t like to stand out in a crowd or be boastful about anything, including his service in the United States Army.
But he wears the hat, and for that I am truly grateful.
Happy Veteran’s Day!