He’s a man of honor and quiet strength. He doesn’t talk much about his years in Vietnam. God got him through, he tells us, and that alone is really all we need to know.
He’s a fighter, this man, my favorite veteran.
Like most veterans I know, he has never lost the desire to serve his country. He’s not fighting wars anymore, but he’s still looking for ways to serve, to make a contribution. To provide leadership, set a good example, and show what it means to work hard, serve country, and honor God.
Yet, beneath the tough exterior of an old soldier, he’s a soft-hearted Grandpa who my girls call “Bop.”
You should see how this old soldier plays with those little girls. The rough hands of a farmer and a fighter reach out wide to hug his grandchildren, to grasp a crayon, to play dolls or hold teacups.
Oh, how he loves them. And oh, how we love him back.
On the farm CB radio, just now, as I write this tribute to my favorite veteran, his wife reports that they’re about ready to leave to take the snowy roads to the hospital.
He’s fighting another battle these days — leukemia — and he has a scheduled chemo treatment today.
On this day, Paul, as you fight this battle, we honor you and all of the nation’s military veterans — men and women of exceptional courage and strength. God bless you for how you’ve fought old wars … and for the way you teach us new lessons in the battles you face now.
We are the home of the free … because of the brave.