The veteran I chose to honor is this man, Alvin. When I met him, he had two cats, named Simon and Theodore. Why am I thankful for and honor him?
Is it because he went to Viet Nam two times? Is it because he served in the US Army, like my own dad? Is it because I don't have a pic of my dad in his service uniform? (Yes, actually. Sorry, Dad.) Is it because when I met him, he looked like a member of ZZ Top? Is it because he loved riding Harleys? Is it because he allows me to call him Neanderthal? Is it because he assaulted me, twice? He really did, and yeah, I get it. I understand why, and it's not because I called him Neanderthal. These aren't the reasons.
Look closer at the pic. Look behind him to the left. See the little girl with the yellow and white jumper? That's why I honor this man. After his second tour, he was shipped to Korea where he met my mother in law and they had my now bride (which subsequently caused me to have a 4 hour security interview, for my job, focused on my ties to Korea.)
As for the assaults, my FIL Al is a big man, well he was 25 years ago. He wore biker's leathers. I am told when a guy came to pick up my sister in law for a date, he ran when Al answered the door. (Think of Lurch when he answered the door in the original series Addams Family.) When Al answered my knock, I didn't flinch. The next date, he met me at his drive way, picked me up by my shirt and slammed me into his garage door, a bit harder than he needed. My head dented the door. I didn't flinch. To this day he shows that garage door with pride. The next date, he came after me with a full size lumber axe. (He was 6'4"and proud of his Viking heritage.) I didn't flinch. He then gave me his blessing to date his daughter to which I requested his blessing to instead marry his daughter.
I figured early on, while my feet were dangling as I was against his garage door, that he was only trying to intimidate me away from his daughter; to make me prove myself worthy of his treasured princess; he was being protective of her, just like I had always planned to be with my daughter(s) when that day comes. The old axiom applies, girls marry guys like their dads, of which my bride loves to point out the similarities.
Thank you, Al, for your service, and your daughter. (She approved this post.)
Thanks for reading my abbreviated homage.