I walked into work and my boss told me that I would be covering the Veteran’s Day Parade. Immediately my first thought was too ask my Father to walk with me. My father is a Veteran of several tours; which is the term used by the Military to describe there time while away on duty. I felt honored to be asked to walk and knew right away this would be a great impact on my Fathers and I relationship as well as a way I could thank him for what he has sacrificed.
When I called my father he was excited and honored that I even considered walking with him. Once the day came my father and I met up in the morning and took the train together and even got a chance to ride the subway for free because a Police officer was there and he seen my father in his uniform and allowed us to walk through which was impressive and fun, we were both impressed. My father said he already felt like VIP.
As we were waiting for the parade to start I looked over and seen my friend from French Class and I immediately walked over to him and asked him what he was doing here. He then explained to me how he is in the Marines and this will be his first time being able to walk in the parade. When it came time to walk I felt extremely overwhelmed with honor and excitement having my friend and my father right by each of my sides and being able to go through this experience with them left me only asking each of them one question, “ What does this feel like? “; the only word my father said could explain his feelings was “speechless”, when I asked my friend he said “it was amazing and it is an honor”.
I then asked myself how do I feel, I was walking for the Military children that went through the same lifestyle I had went through which was therapeutic because at a time I hated everything about the military just for the fact that I felt they took my Father away but now I am accepting and honored that I could be a part of something bigger than me which is something I am sure my father feels. As we were nearing the end of the walk, I had to take a moment as I viewed the large crowd waving and saying Thank You. I needed to take a moment to apologize to my father for being mad at him when I was younger. I was mad at him for missing some moments that at the time felt bigger than anything, for thinking he didn’t care or that the military came before our family. In response, my father opened up and told me its okay because I cried too and I was mad too that I couldn’t be there.
In that moment, I realized the military is a part of our family that it isn’t a burden – but it is an honor. The New York City Veteran’s Day Parade was more than a walk, it was and still is therapy for a lot of Veterans as well as their families. It is a time where we could connect and honor our sacrifices. I will always remember Veterans Day 2013.