[The curtain rises and the stage is set. It is the 1970's in a dorm room on the campus of the University of North Carolina. A middle aged man and his youngest son sit together on a small twin bed under the florescent lighting.]
"So, how are things going?"
"It's tough, Dad, really tough."
"Oh? How so?"
"I've got classes on top of classes, you know how that goes for me. And then there's football practice, it's just hard. It's a lot harder than I thought it'd be."
"Oh I don't know. Sounds pretty easy to me."
"No, it's... nevermind. You don't get it, Dad. You just don't get it."
"Son," The man's posture eases as he rests his elbows on his knees. "When I was your age I was being shot at with live ammo."
This is the story as it has been told to me about my grandfather's famous conversation with my uncle. H.A. "Dude" Austin fought in World War II as a turret gunner based in Italy. Sent out the day before his high school graduation at the age of eighteen, he would fly fifty-one missions before returning home to his family's tobacco farm in Clover, Virginia. Thank you, Dude for everything you did- not just as a soldier, but as a grandfather. I wish you were still here for me to thank you in person.
To all the veterans who have served, and are still serving, we are truly grateful for all that you have done for us. Let freedom ring.