When Dad died in November 2008 he was a breath away from retirement. It wasn’t like him to die. He was fighting valiantly when a cancer-related infection took him at an age that I will always consider too young.

His was a life of duty. We didn’t have fine things or fancy cars, but he provided for us and we were secure. He spent the whole of his adult live working to support his family and before that served his country in Vietnam where he was exposed to the Agent Orange that would later kill him. The VA finally admitted that Agent Orange causes the cancer that took Dad, shortly after his passing.

It was supposed to be his turn to give up the 12 hour swing shift, to be able to putter in his garden, fish whenever, and enjoy golden years together with Mom. He didn’t get any of this. He didn’t get to watch his grandchildren grow up.

I didn’t pick my job. It picked me and I do it for two reasons. I’m doing something I love now because none of us were promised 70 years, and I want to go down for that long sleep having done as much as I could.

To my dad, my husband, to every American veteran both living and gone, I give thanks from the bottom of my heart for the liberty to do a job I love.