#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Veteran’s Day

I’ve been wanting to write this entry all day, but, as sometimes happens, my internet service was out of commission.  Thanks to Chris, the weekend wrangler, pet-sitter and computer wiz, here we go.

These past few days, I’ve seen veterans around town, selling the familiar red poppies.  Many of them are my dad’s age, part of the Greatest Generation–you know, the one that saved the world?  It touches me to see these people, still serving, still proud, even after all these years.  These are the folks who helped to liberate Europe, who landed on Iwo Jima and other Pacific islands, under relentless machine-gun fire.  Thousands of them gave, in Lincoln’s words, “the last full measure of devotion”, in service of a country they believed in with all their hearts and minds.  The lucky ones returned to a hero’s welcome–America was grateful, and rightly so.

The Korean conflict followed, and these brave soldiers were welcomed, too.

Then came Viet Nam. 

I’m old enough to remember that war clearly–in fact, my 19 year old husband went to Southeast Asia, winding up in the artillery, right in the thick of battle.  He was changed forever by the experience of war, as anybody would be.  The difference was, when these soldiers returned, they were regarded as villains, reviled and insulted and sometimes even spat upon.  At best, they received platitudes from their government, but no real help, and very little understanding.  For some incomprehensible reason, certain people blamed these very young men (women didn’t go to the front in those days), when they should have been blaming their elected officials, senators, representatives, and, yes, a few presidents, too. 

I have always been proud to be an American, and I always will be, but the treatment these soldiers received was downright shameful.  They were called up to serve their country, in a war that shouldn’t have happened.  Today, too many of them are broken and burned out, pan-handling at freeway exit ramps.  Many more are hard workers and fine citizens, husbands and fathers and grandfathers, but with a few cracks secreted away in their hearts.

Today, with our military facing death 24/7 in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the motto is, “Support Our Troops”, and that’s a very good thing.   As many of you know, I speak up for soldiers whenever and wherever I can.  If I see them in a restaurant, on an airplane, anywhere at all, I make a point of thanking them.  I don’t want to forget, ever, how many of them have fought and died, and continue to do so to this very day, so the rest of us can enjoy our freedom.  I don’t want to forget that freedom is precious and hardwon, bought with blood, sweat, toil and tears.

Let us solemnly remember and reflect, not just today, but every day, that freedom is never free.  Real, flesh-and-blood people preserve and defend rights too many of us take for granted.  We can still vote as we choose, speak our minds, gather in groups, agree and disagree.  We enjoy, even in these challenging times, a standard of living unheard of in much of the world. 

We can go right on hating war–I know I do. 

But let’s honor our troops.  Let’s pray for them, appreciate them, and do them a good turn if we get the chance.

They’re all heroes and heroines, after all.

65 comments to “Veteran’s Day”

  1. Patrice
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:21 pm · Link

    I agree wholeheartedly!

  2. Deborah Rae Nelson
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:23 pm · Link

    Thank you for your thoughtful salute.

    I remember the same eras as yourself.

    Good Thoughts~ Deborah

  3. Debra
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:29 pm · Link

    Thank you! May God Bless our service men and women. And may He give us families the strength we need when they are away.

  4. Cecelia Kelsey
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:34 pm · Link

    Thank you for you comments. My Dad was in World War II. He didn’t talk about it much, just the funny things is fellow soldiers did. My husband served in Vietnam. He talks about it some but not much. I remember because I was just finishing high school. We lost some great guys from our school. I always had mixed feelings about it. No one appreciates veterans more than their families. But, we need to appreciate the loved ones left behind and keeping everything going on the home front!

  5. Lois Rotella
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:35 pm · Link

    Well said Linda. I agree with you. I thank all our Vets, sailors, marines , air force men and women and those in the army. My dad was in world war II. He served in north africa and italy. He never spoke of his time there. I am proud of all of the people who serve past and present. God Bless them and their families.

  6. Becky Johnson Strobaugh
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:48 pm · Link

    Thank you, Linda, for that tribute.

    I was 11 when my father returned from Vietnam. Even as young as I was I saw the disrespect and derision. We didn’t speak of the war until many years later, after I had served myself and knew my few questions were answerable. His one burning regret and question was why he’d been spared but his drivern sitting right next to him died. Daddy felt that at 6 feet 8.5 inches and 220 lbs he was a bigger and better target. No answer to that except God’s choice. My son serves now and I am blessed that he’s stateside again and healthy after Iraq and Afghanistan. As proud as I am for serving I am more proud of my dad’s and son’s service. Sometimes, being home is harder than being over there, they said.

    Our veterans, young and old, are a national treasure and should be treated as such.

  7. Cindy Zint
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:49 pm · Link

    Please tell your husband Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for his service…I will always remember and never forget those who served, especially in the Vietnam war, because they received such a raw deal! God Bless!

  8. Gloria
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:51 pm · Link

    Linda, many years back, I wrote a poem in honor of my son who was fighting for our freedom. It was also in honor of my son who couldn’t go to war. Now, it is in memory of my son who was in every war from Desert Storm until he came back from Iraq, after serving his time over there, with Leukemia in April of 2004 and died in October of 2006, shortly after his 40th birthday.

    He gave his all for his country, as the Leukemia he had is caused by chemicals and he was an ammuniton specialest.

    I had many uncles in WWII and the other wars you mentioned. I had one cousin who spent 3 tours in Veit Nam. I think I just wrote about this, or part of it, in another Blog recently, but I am proud of all of them. So, if this is a repeat, just say I am extra proud.

    I would print the poem, as it is fitting today, but…I can’t find it.

    • Gloria
        · November 11th, 2013 at 6:52 pm · Link

      I guess I should say…Every war, and/or conflict.

  9. Ruby Norwood
      · November 11th, 2013 at 6:55 pm · Link

    Well said Linda. I agree with you 100%. I also know how it feels to lose a love one from war. I actually hate war, but as far as our troops I say a little prayer for each and everyone of them every night.

  10. Judy Eagle
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:05 pm · Link

    I agree with you, and feel that those who served in Vietnam and since then have not had the support of the country that they deserve. I have extended family who have served, family that has served or are about to serve and my concern goes out to every one, my family or not.

  11. kathi cauley
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:13 pm · Link

    As always, so well said. God Bless our troops!

  12. Maryjane Hoffman
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:18 pm · Link

    I too Thank A Veteran today whenever I see one. It’s the least I can do for all that they do to keep us and our awesome country safe. I had three Uncles who served in WWII and my cousins husband served in the Korean War. I married during the Vietnam war and remember so many friends, neighbors and classmates who served and so many never made it back home. Those that did never received the honors they so deserved. So today I say a prayer for all those serving and hope they all come home safe and sound. God Bless them all!!

  13. Teresa Fordice
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:20 pm · Link

    Amen you said it exactly right!!

  14. Iris
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:22 pm · Link


  15. Shawn Oxendine-Walter
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:23 pm · Link

    This is a truly beautiful sentiment Linda and I agree totally. I wasn’t yet born during the Vietnam War and the wars before it but I know history and what I’ve studied. It always hurt and offended me when I would read about or see when veterans from any war were (and are) treated with anything less than a hero’s status. Many of my family and friends have served and serve in the armed forces and I salute them and all of our American men and women who sacrifice for our lives and liberty.

    I continue to pray for peace on Earth and for all wars to be eradicated!

  16. Hilda
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:24 pm · Link

    As someone whose parents suffered at the hands of the Nazis after they invaded our little Holland, I THANK THE U.S. AND CANADIAN VETERANS!!!! My parents have never been reticent about thanking their liberators from North America – they remember to this day how those boys suffered for people they didn’t even know. The soldiers may have kept America free, but they also freed countries that were no longer free at the time! May all the Veterans rest in peace and glory with our Lord! They deserve a mansion up there!

  17. Ellen
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:36 pm · Link

    I also remember the Viet Nam war. My husband was a Marine Engineer Officer. I spent many a Sunday in Sunday School Defending his service. I think that is just very Sad.

  18. Kathleen McCluskey
      · November 11th, 2013 at 7:45 pm · Link


  19. Pat
      · November 11th, 2013 at 8:18 pm · Link

    Went to the Veteran’s Day parade today in Sebring, FL. It was not the biggest but it was wonderful. I watched the ROTC pushing the elderly disabled vets in wheel chairs down the street. It breaks my heart to see them. I so miss my grandson that we lost on March 14, 2011. He was a Marine and we were so proud of him when he made it as a Military Policeman.

  20. Linda P
      · November 11th, 2013 at 8:24 pm · Link

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I also grew up during Viet Nam, attending the University of Pittsburgh during most of the war, seeing many of my fellow students going to war along with members of my family and personal friends. I supported every man who went although I hated that war and every other. I hope that everyone remembers that we did not have a “volunteer army” at that time. Most of the soldiers in that war were drafted, fighting with no choice in the matter. I respect every one of those men as much as if not more than every veteran of this country. I thank every one of them and every other man and woman who served in our military service now or in the past. Thank you one and all.

  21. Darlene Sigala
      · November 11th, 2013 at 8:31 pm · Link

    Hi Linda, Thank you for appreciating our Veterans. I am a woman Veteran, I loved serving my country and I would do it all over again. I want to say thank you to my fellow Veterans men and women and to our Active Military serving around the world.
    Happy Veterans Day. :-D

  22. Barbara Linkous
      · November 11th, 2013 at 8:39 pm · Link

    WEll said Linda.

  23. Heather
      · November 11th, 2013 at 8:45 pm · Link

    Took my two youngest and my niece to the parade today. Teared up as I educated them…”My Pop-Pop would be walking with this group. My dad, Grampa would be walking with this group…and THIS one, too.” Lucky to still have my dad, even if he wasn’t here today to walk. Was so pleased to see so many people come out in the howling wind and cold to support our Veterans! :-D

  24. Elizabeth
      · November 11th, 2013 at 8:47 pm · Link

    Bravo. This is very true. We should all thank a veteran for our freedom.

  25. Diana E
      · November 11th, 2013 at 9:00 pm · Link

    Amen, Linda. I texted my grandson-in-law today to thank him for his service in Iran and Afganistan, also my nephews and anyone else I could think of to thank. Blessings.

  26. Emily
      · November 11th, 2013 at 9:02 pm · Link

    What a great message! Thank you for your wonderful insite! I too remember the Viet Nam war. It was disgraceful how our men were treated when they returned home. So sad.

    When ever I see any military personal, I thank them for their service. I have even given up my plane seat for them. They are great people and we all should be proud of them and their love of country. I know I am.

  27. Denise King
      · November 11th, 2013 at 9:23 pm · Link

    I Loved your thoughts on our veterans, my dad was in the Korean war, he was a cook for his unit (best damn cook ever) I could be bias though :).My niece just retired from the Air Force after 20 yrs, so I salute, honor and Thank all of our Veterans for your services to our country

  28. Ida C
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:11 pm · Link

    Very well said Linda. God bless all the veterans and all those now serving as well. Without them, we wouldn’t have the life style that we all enjoy. God bless everyone!!

  29. gloria bare
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:18 pm · Link

    God bless all of our military personnel. My father and 8 of his brothers and 1 sister all served in the military. During world war 2 my grandmother had 5 of her children in the service. I now have a nephew who is in the army and has been deployed 4 times to Iraq and Afghanistan and may have to go again next year. I like you hate war, but must honor our military. May this war soon be over and they may all come home soon.

  30. Sharon Jesse
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:25 pm · Link

    Amen Linda, You said it all. God Bless.

  31. Connie Johnson
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:31 pm · Link

    Well said. I completely agree.

  32. frances
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:39 pm · Link

    Very true, Linda….Lets not ever forget what these men and women have sacrificed, and still do for us. God Bless!!!

  33. Barbara Martin
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:47 pm · Link

    My young marriage did not survive the Vietnam Nam war. Two kids who grew up that year apart and we didn’t have the maturity to put it back together. We’re still friends and I now have a wonderful husband who also served during that time. It was a heard time for all of us

  34. J M Wiilson
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:51 pm · Link

    I thank all veterans for the gift they give us to be free

  35. Leisa Sellers
      · November 11th, 2013 at 10:54 pm · Link

    Thank you Linda for stating such truths about our veterans! My husband served in Vietnam and is just now beginning to feel like he was appreciated for his service!When they first arrived back stateside, so many blamed THEM for the war that it made many of them feel guilty and hated! This many years later, my husband finally is accepting that he was in service and replies kindly and chats with many of the people, both young and old, who come up to him and Thank Him for his service! Most times it brings tears to my eyes as i have seen him go from secluded,drawn in and quiet to a more normal lifestyle that includes standing proud when people recognize his service!ALL service members ought to stand proud as not just anyone can do what they did, are doing or plan to do!!!!! :)

  36. Patricia M Hann
      · November 11th, 2013 at 11:03 pm · Link

    My dad is part of the greatest generation. He is a World war 11 vet. I was born during Vietnam. today I had a talk with my 11 year old twins about that time and how those who serve were treated when they came home. No matter what lets not forget and honored every man and women who have served or is serving.

  37. Jeanne Shaw
      · November 11th, 2013 at 11:06 pm · Link

    I was in college during the Kent State Massacre and several other war protest events. I remember boys I went to high school and college with who died serving their country in Vietnam. No soldier who fought in Vietnam deserves the treatment they have received

  38. Roberta Giordano
      · November 11th, 2013 at 11:15 pm · Link

    My husband is a Vereen who served in Vietnam. We have been married for 40 years and for the majority of those years he wod never really talk about when he served. Just in the past few years has he started telling me something’s about when he served, some funny things that happened and some sad and bad things. I just want to say to him Thank you Sweetie for your service. Love you!

  39. harriet vick
      · November 11th, 2013 at 11:25 pm · Link

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. I do my best to thank the many sailors that I see everyday at work or in the town I live in. I usually tear up everytime I thank one of them, I know they appreciate being thanked!

  40. Marie Anne
      · November 11th, 2013 at 11:57 pm · Link

    Wonderfully put.

  41. rosemary
      · November 12th, 2013 at 1:53 am · Link

    Well said, thank you.

  42. Michelle Huang
      · November 12th, 2013 at 3:08 am · Link

    Well said, I believe it is important to show our troops respect for what they have done, to those who are able to come home and give their families some relief and put their worries away.

  43. Becky Carter
      · November 12th, 2013 at 7:17 am · Link

    My co-worker and I had the honor of buying a soldier and his wife their lunch not long ago. He was sitting in a booth in front of us. Even though we had no idea who he was we wanted to let him know how proud we were of him and to thank him with all of our heart for the service that he gives our nation. It was an honor and I hope that every american who sees our servicemen would do the same as we did. Remeber that we wouldn’t be free if it weren’t for our soldiers and their sacrifices.

  44. Maureen
      · November 12th, 2013 at 7:38 am · Link

    So eloquently said. I too lived through that war and saw many of my friends drafted and constant worry where they were on the draft list. They were treated shamefully by their fellow countrymen and thank goodness we learned a lesson there and now they are treated with the respect they deserve. My brother in law talked about the war for the first time last year and my sister found out that he was wounded and was in a battle where he saw many die. She thought he was safe on a ship. So sad.

  45. Carole Sklenar
      · November 12th, 2013 at 9:30 am · Link

    Thank you Linda for saying in words that I have carried in my heart for years and years. I to speak up and say thank when ever I see someone in a uniform of one of our military services and speak it loudly. If they let me, I give them a hug too. I am old enough to remember the Korean War as well as all that has followed and I grieve for the Vietnam Vets as that was my age group fighting in that mess. I hate war just as much as the next person and most of the men who were able in my family have fought in every war since the Revolution in this country and I am extremely proud of them. And that includes my sons. I am also privilege to be a part of the committee that finally got the Medal of Honor in April of this year for a hero of the Korean War – Fr. Emil Kapaun. He died in a POW camp on Korea spending himself to help his fellow POW’s and the men who were with him in that hell hole that I have had the honor to meet are truly amazing. I am so blessed to know them.

  46. Anita C
      · November 12th, 2013 at 9:34 am · Link

    Very well said! And I too, am grateful for all their sacrifice, hard work and dedication to keep America strong and free. God bless each and every one of our Veteran’s!

  47. Becky in Hauser, Idaho
      · November 12th, 2013 at 9:42 am · Link

    Amen! Very well said!

  48. Deborah
      · November 12th, 2013 at 9:45 am · Link

    These are great sentiments, and right on target. Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts. So many generations have been touched by war, and live with the resulting scars. Proud of all who have served. And praying for those who govern to truly work for the good of the people and comprehend the burden that falls upon them with the decisions that they make.

  49. Andrea Lammly
      · November 12th, 2013 at 9:50 am · Link

    Well said Linda. Blessings to all our military and their families.

  50. Angela Maivelett
      · November 12th, 2013 at 10:30 am · Link

    I’m a nurse and recently took care of a patient who was in the Veitnam Vet and how traumatic his life was after. He had many psych issues,drugs and alcohol. It is so sad.Your blog was wonderful :)

  51. Carol Miller White
      · November 12th, 2013 at 10:34 am · Link

    Thank you, Linda, for the tribute to our veterans and those presently serving. My father is now 95 and we are blessed to still have him with us. He served for nearly four years in the Pacific for the U.S. Army during World War II.

  52. Jeannine Klimt
      · November 12th, 2013 at 10:44 am · Link

    Linda, your tribute was moving and beautifully done. My father is a veteran of both WWII and Korea. My Uncle was in Korea. Another along with cousins in Vietnam. Now for the newest generation my son-in-law was in Iraq for 6 tours. . A nation that does not welcome home it’s military is a nation that will fail.Our treatment of the Vietnam Vets was reprehensible on so many levels. These young men and now women(my daughter is Army NG) deserve our respect and gratitude. Thank you for your message of gratitude and appreciation. War is at times unavoidable as we all know, but let us never again blame the warrior for going when called and performing honorably in a terrible circumstance.

  53. Cheryl Messer
      · November 12th, 2013 at 10:55 am · Link

    Beautifully said! Our deepest gratitude to all the men and women who have served and are presently serving and protecting our country… God Bless them all!

  54. Sandra S
      · November 12th, 2013 at 1:12 pm · Link

    So very true. Our military men and women should never be used as pawns or scapegoats for political leaders or purposes. They serve with honor and commitment and the very least that we as a nation and individuals can do is honor and support them fully. Thank you to all Veterans. God bless each person who has served and their families at home too.

  55. Marilyn Costich
      · November 12th, 2013 at 2:04 pm · Link

    Very well put Linda. I had two brothers and two cousins in that war and a boyfriend. They all came home safely which was a minor miracle considering. You are right about the blame should have gone to the politicians. I am so proud of all of them and am glad that our country is handling the Iraq and Afganistan wars differently and giving the troops the support when they come home. As usual we can all do more.

  56. Hillary Harshbarger
      · November 12th, 2013 at 3:23 pm · Link

    You said it exactly!! God bless out troops!

  57. susan Leech
      · November 12th, 2013 at 4:14 pm · Link

    AMEN, I couldn’t have said it any better. Prayers for service men and women and their families are needed every day. sue Leech

  58. Joyce M.
      · November 12th, 2013 at 5:38 pm · Link

    My dad was in the Army during WWII. He didn’t talk about his experiences very often but my Mom spoke about what it was like to “hold down the fort”.

  59. Rosanne Bolton
      · November 12th, 2013 at 7:21 pm · Link

    I totally agree with you, honor every soldier, sailor, marine, and any other military personnel. I remember when the soldiers of Viet Nam came home and the treatment they received. How ashamed I was of the american people for the treatment of these military people. They were called to duty by their government and some gave their lives for this country. Whether you believe in war or not, support our military because without them we would not be the free people we are. So thank you to all the military for their service, past, present and future. I have 2 nephews in the army, one is in for 11 years and been to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once and is going back in Jan of 2014, his brother joined 2 years ago and we don’t know when is he going overseas. Thank you again to all military. God Bless you all. Thank you Linda for your blessings and thought for all the military.
    Rosanne Bolton

  60. judy
      · November 12th, 2013 at 10:38 pm · Link

    You are so right. My dad was in WWll. They did not get any thing when the got home and for the wars after it was even worse.

  61. Alice Johnson
      · November 13th, 2013 at 9:09 pm · Link

    Loved your words, especially about Viet Nam. My husband was a Major when he went to Viet Nam. A pilot who loved his Air Force. He came home a broken man! I cannot even think about it without tears. He finally had a total break down & finally retired as a Col in 1977. I lost him 23 years ago, on our 35th Anniversary & miss him every day!

    He was going to the Army Language School in Monterey, CA when we went to San Francisco one weekend. I guess with his posture & short hair, you could tell he was Military, or maybe the “hippies” were just guessing. They made our trip miserable. We were there 9 months & never went back to San Francisco!

    His influence still lingers on in my granchildren! The two boys were 6 & 9, so they spent a lot of time with their grandfather, looking at his pictures & many, many medals. They are both Air Force Academy Graduates & pilots. The older one is now a Major flying the F-16 & stationed in S. Korea with his family. (Wife & 2 girls) the younger one married a young woman also a grad of USAFA & she is also a pilot. All three have been deployed 3x, both boys in Iraq,(Eric all 3x) Libby all 3 x at Kandahar in Afghanistan & Stephen’s other 2x in Kuwait with his flights into Afghanistan. I am very proud of all 3, & finally Stephen & Libby, who married in 06 & are now Instructor pilots at a Training Base in TX. They finally were able to begin their family, a little girl born 18 Oct, 2013! I am very proud of them, as am sure their grandfather is, watching over them from heaven. ♥

    • Linda P
        · November 13th, 2013 at 10:05 pm · Link

      Thank you for sharing your family’s story and for all of their service. I pray that they all come home safely.

  62. Sandi Hill
      · November 16th, 2013 at 8:09 pm · Link

    Amen! Bill and I ate at Applebees on Veterans Day and as we were waiting for a table anther Veteran started talking with us. He wore a Vietnam Veterans hat and I told him that Bill also served in Vietnam. He immediately shook Bill’s hand and said “Welcome Home” and Bill told him the same as they were shaking each other hand. While riding home I asked Bill why the other man had said that to him while shaking his hand and Bill replied “We welcome each other home because when we arrived home no one else did. With tears in my eyes I squeezed my husbands hand and thanked God he was returned to us along with the others that returned home. God Bless our soldiers always.

    • linda
        · November 18th, 2013 at 11:25 am · Link

      This really touches my heart–especially since I’ve known both of you from the beginning.

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