Days 83, 84, and today, 85: In which I love Glee, go to a party, and it is Veterans Day, respectively.

I love Veterans Day (and not just because we didn’t have class today).

When I was little and in elementary school, Veterans Day meant two things: flag cookies and showing off my grandpa.

First, the flag cookies — this is self-explanatory. My grandma made (and still makes) rectangular sugar cookies (they taste more like shortbread, so maybe they’re not sugar cookies) and iced them each with 50 stars and 13 stripes. She dares us to find a mistake. I loved those cookies because you could break them into pieces and eat them out of a Ziploc all day long — they were so big! (and the scraps were plentiful). Plus, everyone in my class marveled over them and I got to say modestly, well, yeah, my grandma made those… you should see my birthday cakes!

Secondly, I got to show everyone how cool my grandpa was. For those of you who may not know him, this is my Opa (he’s the one on the left ;)):

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He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and thus was invited to come to my school once a year and talk to my class about his experiences.

After I sang the military songs in chorus, I went back to my classroom and introduced Opa to the class. Then he would talk to us about what he did as a pilot — telling stories that, even as attention-span-less third graders, we couldn’t help but pay complete attention to. He’d bring a few model planes to explain about cargo planes versus fighters. He would joke with us about things that were surely very serious but seemed so distant from Longwood, he’d show us places he went on a map, and — best of all — he’d let us try on his helmet!

Everyone was in awe when he talked because he was a legitimate, bonafide HERO and he was in our class! As my classmates gushed, I myself would quietly marvel. I guess it’s safe to say that at that age I didn’t really know what being a hero meant, but I was sure that Opa was mine.

Today, Veterans Day means something a little different — I have a reason to think about Opa, who is my hero still today. I only ever knew him as my grandfather, which is incredible because he was so many different people before that.

While today I do consider how grateful I am that he and others fought for our country, I really just have spent most of my time remembering little things (as I usually do this time of year because of Thanksgiving). Like going to get Coke Slurpees after school (multiple times per week!), or that one time he picked me up from school in the gold Pontiac* when I was really sick. And how any recipe he made, he’d make without nuts because I don’t like them, and when he put extra sugar on strawberries, and somehow being able to explain anything, and making coffee cake (which I never understood) on Christmas morning. And how scared I would be when I would walk by his chair and he’d jump at me!

Summarily, I miss Opa and I love veterans. I wonder what the people who fought for our freedom think of how we use (abuse?) it today. I wonder what Opa would think of me today. Would he like Simon? He never really met him. I’m sure he’d be the biggest Gators fan ever.

I think we should try and make our veterans proud as we appreciate them today. That’s what I’m trying to do. :)

*the Pontiac in whose backseat cupholder Jono and I accidentally let a blue crayon melt and we couldn’t tell anyone because we would get in so much trouble



2 Comments to “Days 83, 84, and today, 85: In which I love Glee, go to a party, and it is Veterans Day, respectively.”

  1. Julia, Your Opa would be very proud of you, you are an amazing young woman. xoxo

  2. ok. you made me cry.

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