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Saturday In the Valley

We started our Saturday at the Farmers' Market, as usual. The SLV Big Band was playing, which is always good entertainment, so we walked around for a little while. We really didn't need anything, so we didn't stay long.

After perusing the market, we headed out to Monte Vista to visit Home Lake. Home Lake is a soldiers and sailors home. Dev tried to explain how that is a little different than a state veterans' home, but I don't remember what he said.

Anyhoo- it is a beautiful place. There are older buildings there that I would surmise date back at least to the WWII era, as well as modern buildings. Here's a shot of the old pool hall...



I took a whole slew of pics and uploaded them to my flickr page...here's the link to the set.

But by far, the most striking thing on the campus is the veterans' cemetary. The graves there are from the Civil War forward. We saw graves of veterans from the Spanish American War as well.



The hardest thing to see where the few graves there from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Before I met Dev, I never really thought about the people currently serving in our military the same way I thought about older veterans (say from WWII or Korea or even Vietnam). But now, listening to the stories he tells about his time in Iraq, or just thinking of him all the way over there, without his family and friends, doing everything he can to serve his country, my eyes have been opened. When I think of how lucky I am that Dev came home, and how different things could have been, it makes me so thankful for him and so sad for the families of the men and women who won't make it home. To see a new grave, with a picture of a young man next to it, who was killed before his 19th birthday, is very hard to stomach. I can not even imagine what a tragedy like that does to a family.

I know I have been very verbal about my opposition to the war over in Iraq, but that doesn't mean that I don't support the troops 100%. They do not get to choose where they go, nor do they get to question why they are being sent. Right or wrong- good reasons or bad ones- they are there. And many of them will never be the same because of it. I know everyone is saying this, but I think it is true. If you see someone either in the military or who is a veteran, you really should thank them for the sacrifices they are willing to make in the line of duty.

In my own family, my nephew, Michael, has chosen to join the Marines and will go to basic training at the end of October. Even though way deep down I'm afraid for him and I will worry about him, my overwhelming feeling is one of pride. I think it takes a lot of guts and bravery to make that decision, no matter what other options are available.

I won't get to see Michael before he leaves, but I hope he knows how much I love him and how proud I am of him.

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