Thank You for Your Service

My Uncle Vinnie served in the Air Force as a tail gunner during the Korean War. I barely remember him. He died from MS about a decade after the war ended when I was still a toddler. I do remember seeing him before he died, shaking from the MS, an auto immune disease with no cure and as yet, no discernible cause. My mom always believed the roots of the disease started during the war, a result of chemical inhalation from the many different toxic substances a man came into contact with during wartime, not just chemical weapons, but residuals from munitions and a zillion other toxins.

My grandmother and my uncle

But the fallout is never limited to one person. My grandmother followed soon thereafter, a brain aneurysm claiming her life. My mom said she cried herself to death. I can see how that would happen. I can’t imagine outliving any of my children.

It seems trite somehow to say thank you for your service — considering the magnitude of the sacrifices made by so many, and the compounding of the losses through diminishment of the lives left behind — but are there ever any words to appease the magnitude of our collective sorrow? The pain of losing my uncle became less acute for my mom over the years, but the lonely shadow of him was always with us. There was no way to change the circumstances so she learned to live with the result.

To all who have served, or who have loved ones who have served, thank you, THANK YOU for your selflessness. In a country that often puts individual desires above all else, you have bucked the trend and given it all, and we who are left behind have benefitted from your bravery and courage. I hope we can ultimately live up to your sacrifice.

pam lazos 5.30.22

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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14 Responses to Thank You for Your Service

  1. Ally Bean says:

    I hope we can live up to the sacrifice, too. Lately this country seems to be fraying, when we need to come together. I don’t think homegrown terrorism and mass murders are what these veterans were fighting for.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lampmagician says:

    Thank you too, dear Pam. Your words are heart-touching and worth it remembering. I send you a lot of love ❤️ 🤗❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Schaub says:

    Your Uncle Vinnie looks dapper in these two sepia-toned photographs Pam. There is no way we can ever repay these servicemen and women who died while serving their country, nor those who returned broken from what they witnessed or from injuries sustained during their tour of duty. It hurts my heart that the real reason for this holiday is often forgotten, especially when I heard fireworks long into the early mornings Sunday and today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      I know, right? It’s so easy to forget that the “unofficial start to summer” was based on such heartache.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, the protestations here for why people should not shoot fireworks on this weekend just blows my mind – disrespectful to those who died and the veterans suffering from PTSD as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        I never even heard is such protests, Linda!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Also, there are protesters in my City slamming those who want to stop the fireworks, calling them “Karens” because “why can’t we just have fun on a holiday?” When the fireworks use was especially bad was 2020, the first year of the pandemic. People in the Residents/City forum I follow said “if I were collecting unemployment due to COVID, I could put the money to good use, not buying fireworks” and on the other side people said “we need to take the edge off these stressful times and shoot off fireworks – the veterans and dogs and cats can stay in the house if they don’t like it.” Narrow-minded and selfish (not to mention stupid).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        To quote Rodney King, why can’t we all just get along? 🫤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. sandra starna says:

    Thank-you for sharing your memories and meaningful and heartfelt words. I am so proud to be your cousin!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your final paragraph elegantly says what needs to be said.

    Liked by 2 people

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