We owe it to our veterans

Published 10:03 pm Friday, November 8, 2019

My youngest daughter and I like to ask each other random questions. These are questions that can be about anything, and can be serious or absolutely ridiculous. The only real “rule” for our questions game is that the answers need to come quickly, without a lot of thought.

For example, Emma might ask me, “If you had to put hot sauce on every single thing you ate for the next month, which hot sauce would you use?”

Because Cholula is the first brand that pops into my head, I’d probably say that. Plus it really does taste good on lots of things. Especially the green pepper one.

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Or I might ask Emma, “If pizza suddenly became illegal, how much would you be willing to pay to get a slice of your favorite? Or would you just go without?”

I can see Emma’s eyes getting big as she contemplates the idea of pizza being “unattainable.”

Not long ago, Emma threw this question out at me — “If you were to start a new book today, what would you want to write about?”

After I gave my answer, I asked her the same question. She said she’d probably want to write a book that involved fantasy characters, similar to J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” or C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series.

My answer came quickly to mind, as well. I’d want to write a book — fiction or non-fiction — that examines the story of one or more soldiers, marines, sailors or other veterans who have returned home from war or some other type of dangerous military service.

I’d want to look at how they dealt with their experiences, and how they were still dealing with them. I’d want to find out how their spouses, children or other family members were affected, how their friends were affected and what life changes came about because of what the veterans went through.

Whether they were injured or unscathed physically, whether they were driven to attempt suicide or seemed to prosper mentally, I want to know their stories — if things have gone very well or very poorly, if their families grew stronger or seemed to fall apart.

What happened and do they think it was tied directly to their wartime experiences?

I will at some point dive into this project, because it’s something I think is worth learning and worth sharing.

We owe our veterans so much. We owe it to them to try to understand what they’ve been through — for their nation, for their families … for us.