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I’ve seen my father cry twice in my life. The first time because of a Father’s Day poem my sister wrote for him when we were very little. The second time was after someone asked him the question, “What’s Agent Orange?” He told them the story of catching up with a fellow soldier he fought with in Vietnam a few years after the war, only to find out the man had been diagnosed with brain cancer from his exposure to Agent Orange and had six months to live.

My father was an M60 machine gunner in the 1st Cavalry during the Vietnam War. After basic training, he spent a year sleeping in the bug infested jungles of South Vietnam, eating his meals from a can and fighting the Man in the Black Pajamas. He received a Bronze Star for providing cover to another soldier whose gun jammed during a fire fight. He said the strangest thing about coming home was waking up in the middle of the night in his own bed and realizing he no longer had to worry about someone trying to kill him in his sleep. I don’t know about you, but I think anyone who utters that sentence deserves my eternal gratitude and respect.

My father during basic training

In honor of Veterans Day I decided to create the “Sweets for Soldiers” blog project. Below is a guideline for participation.

  1. Make something. Cook a meal. Bake some cookies. Knit a sweater. Do whatever you do best.
  2. Give that something to a soldier or veteran. Maybe it’s a family member, or a co-worker. Or maybe it’s a group of veterans at your local American Legion Hall or Veterans Hospital.
  3. Take a picture of them enjoying your gift and ask them to share their branch of service and any other details they feel comfortable talking about.
  4. Email the picture and details to me, or post them on my Facebook wall, by Sunday November 11th so I can post them on my blog with a link back to your blog home page (or if you do a blog post about your experience I can link it back to that post instead).

Thank you in advance for participating. Please feel free to share this with other bloggers. I know we all appreciate veterans, but it will be awesome to share our experiences with each other and thank as many folks as we can.