The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letter to a Veteran

                    By Elaine Slater Reese

(Editor’s Note: Elaine Slater Reese is a freelance writer who grew up near Bowen in Hancock County, Illinois and considers that home even though she has now lived in Spring Green, Wisconsin for over 20 years. She says “The Quill” always keeps her updated. We appreciate her contributions)

Dear Veteran,

This letter is so long overdue.  I guess I’m not quite sure why.  Perhaps it’s because  I had to grow a lot older to begin to understand the sacrifices you have made for our country and for me.  Or perhaps it’s because once I really started to think about the sacrifices you have made it was just too painful to dwell on those thoughts – a little selfish on my part, huh?

I have learned that it doesn’t matter what war, what battle, what conflict you were in – you did sacrifice.  Perhaps you missed the education you had planned. Perhaps you missed the birth of a child. Maybe you couldn’t be there for your parents’ funerals.  Or did you miss your child’s  birthdays, Christmas, sports activities, recitals, proms, or even graduation? 

I have a difficult time trying to think about you losing your arms or legs or part of your face. And my heart can only imagine what you felt when you lost your buddies.  I didn’t hear you complain when some treated you rudely when you came back home.  I think how much it must have hurt to see our government often not meet your needs. 

They needed you and gave you no choice as to serving.  Yet when you then needed them they seemed to often turn their back – they had so quickly forgotten your sacrifices.

Veteran, you have given years of your life or even your life itself for the freedoms we take so for granted. When I saw the recent fiascos in Washington  that made America lose all respect from the rest of the world, as well as at home,  I thought what a HUGE APOLOGY we owe you. 

So, Dear Veteran,  please accept my apology that this letter is so long overdue, and please accept my most sincere and grateful “THANK YOU” for what you have given. 

May God bless you and those you love who also were part of your sacrifice.