Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans' Day - "Thanks For Your Service"

 This old postcard shows a picture of Veterans' Hospital in Des Moines as it was in 1949. I wrote two years ago about why Bud ended up going there and how worried I was about the care he would receive (Thanking A Veteran) and how we were both pleasantly surprised and impressed.

Bud has healthcare insurance now and could choose to go to any doctor or hospital - he chooses to continue going to Vets because of their quality of service and outstanding treatment of Veterans. The hospital has been undergoing major construction and updating. This is the entrance we currently use to access the clinics. The doorman cheerfully greets everyone. The veterans get a "How are'ya doin'? Thanks for your service."

Look up as you enter that doorway and you will see this display of flags which leads to the information desk. We don't have to stop there - we know our way around pretty well by now.

Sometimes I go with Bud but if he's there for a routine visit, I often wait in the lobby waiting area and read my book or people watch. This is a picture of the new cafeteria across the lobby from where I sit. Such a light and airy place compared to what it used to be. I began noticing all the wood carvings and decided to take some pictures of them. There's a 'Support Our Troops' ribbon and an eagle in this photo.

And this eagle holding a flag in the waiting area. Often I look at the Veterans coming and going and wonder about them. There are still a few whom I imagine must be World War II or Korean War Veterans - they are beginning to look old - even to me. There are also a few younger ones from the Gulf War and the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars, but the majority of them seem to be Vietnam War Vets. Many of them you can tell because they wear their Vietnam Veteran hats; others you can tell by their age - sometimes even by their pony tails and the way they dress.

In the cafeteria is this display - the table set for the soldier who has yet to return. Each piece on the table has symbolic meaning which was explained in the framed piece. You can google POW-MIA Table to read about the symbolism and ceremony attached to it.

Once I began noticing the wood carvings, I saw them everywhere, even outside. Lots of eagles.....

......a Marine Corps bulldog. As well as one I would have missed if a woman had not seen me taking pictures and told me about.....

......this magnificent double eagle bench - the carving of which had just been completed a week or so before Bud's appointment.

Side view of the eagles. I probably should have brushed the leaves off the bench before taking the pictures!

This much of the tree the bench was carved from still stands behind the bench. I'm guessing there is going to be something carved from it. Another eagle? I'll check on it next spring when we are back.

"Within the soul of each Vietnam veteran there is probably something that says: 'Bad war, good soldier'. Only now are Americans beginning to separate the war from the warrior." (Max Cleland - Disabled Veteran of the Vietnam War, Former U.S. Senator from Georgia)

I love my Vietnam Veteran more than I ever thought possible. Thank you  for your service, Bud.

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