Today, Alan is both proud of his service and not haunted by it. Although he cannot process sound in his right ear, he bears no visible scars from his service. While he detests concerts and crowds, we don't have to avoid public spaces. He is always cognizant of where he sits in a restaurant and dictates how we are arranged at a table. And of course, he sleeps closest to the door. These may be some of the shadows of PTSD, yet they are very normal in our lives.
Not every wife, girlfriend, mother, father, sister, brother or child celebrated Veterans day the same way that we did. Not every family member has their service member home. Or maybe they are home but the shadows of war are darker for them. There are many families who have given more than we have. And amazingly, they would do it again.
We are a country of citizens made from some tough stuff. Men and women who serve willingly, their families who support them endlessly, and a country that is both appreciative and hopefully, very thankful. I certainly am.
When I die, I desire no better winding sheet than the Stars and Stripes, and no softer pillow than the Constitution of my country.