Friday, November 11, 2022

Remembering Our Veterans


This is my father-in-law, Jacob Buchbinder, may he rest in peace. He graduated from medical school at age 21 and went on to his internship and residency at Knickerbocker Hospital in New York City. When FDR gave his Day of Infamy speech on December 8, 1941, all of the members of my father-in-law's residency training program raced to sign up to fight the Evil Axis. He watched as his classmates were inducted, wondering why he hadn't been called up. He returned to the draft office and demanded to know why they hadn't contacted him. The reason? After a thorough search of the office, they found his folder had fallen behind the file cabinet. And, at last he was called to go to war in Biloxi, Mississippi where he cared for injured returning soldiers.

After attending Officer Candidate School, my brother served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army Special Forces. He has a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and a harrowing tale that would have turned out with him not returning home alive had it not been for his driver racing back to retrieve him from a suddenly empty village. He still sleeps poorly and has shrapnel embedded in his flesh.

My father served in the Army in Europe and was injured. He returned, not only with that injury, but also with what would come to be known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He spent years of his life in St. Elizabeth's Mental Hospital in Washington, D.C. being treated for paranoid schizophrenia. His untreated PTSD contributed to his alcoholism and death at the age of 52.

My ancestor, William Chenault, Senior served in the Revolutionary War, as did a number of my other ancestors. I am a card-carrying member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and an Honorary Regent, meaning I served as the leader of the Baltimore Chapter, DAR for six years. The DAR is dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.

My ancestor and family members came home--not all healthy, but they came home. Many who serve do not. And many ethnic groups, African Americans and Native Americans, in particular--have not received the recognition they deserve for their heroism. On this day, let us remember all our Veterans for their courage, honor, and sacrifice for our country. It is the least we can do to thank them for allowing us to sleep peacefully at night in our dry, warm beds while they endure cold, heat, mud, dust, bad food, and the hourly threat of injuries and death.

No comments:

Post a Comment