A Family of Veterans
Photo: Todd with his father and grandfather (both Veterans) at W&M Army Induction Ceremony
Author: Donn Weaver (11/10/2016)©
Todd comes from a family of American veterans. Both his great-grandfathers fought in WWI; his Grandfathers were Marine and Navy volunteers in WWII; his father enlisted in the Army and became an Infantry Officer 1968-72. His great uncle fell in combat as a 1LT infantry officer in WWII in Italy; one of his aunts served in the US Navy; and his oldest brother was an Army Infantry Soldier during Desert Storm and became an officer and helicopter pilot later. That Todd would be a veteran was never in doubt. The events of 9/11 accelerated the process. My husband, Donn, frames Todd’s service as a soldier this way:
Being a veteran on this Veterans Day, November 11, 2016, brings service and sacrifice to the fore. I like the saying, If you love freedom, thank a veteran. Our son Todd grew up, served, and died with that same sense of why not me, why not now focus of country above self and even above family if that is to be what unfolds. Since the Revolution more than 1.3 Million Americans have died in combat. That would be our reality. America, as we know it, does not exist today without those veterans, all of whom knew it might have been them who fell.
Maybe not every year, but most of those in Todd’s 26 years of Veterans Days, it was a special time to reflect as well as get some time off school or pick up some shopping bargains. One stands out. Just before Todd decided to drop out of college and enlist in the Virginia National Guard as the Iraq War build up accelerated, I asked him if he had veterans day off and would like to go to a special ceremony planned in Williamsburg. He said no and yes to the two questions then by early November he told us now was the time — he would join the Virginia National Guard and live up to his statement made at the kitchen table on September 11, 2001 after he got home from football practice as a senior at Bruton High School that day. . “Mom and Dad, I don’t know how or when, but I have to do something to help our country that has given us so much after the events of today”. A year plus later, he became a soldier. Two years after that he was fighting in Iraq as a combat engineer, returning home as a 21 year old, hardened veteran.
Just 5 years later, this time as an Army Infantry platoon leader and first lieutenant, he volunteered for his second war and fell in combat at the age of 26 — he came from veterans and the veterans who came before him are very proud of his service and sacrifice. This Veterans Day picture Todd’s grave marker, along with 660,000 others at Arlington National Cemetery, and find any veteran in your area, thanking them and knowing, like Todd, their service has made it possible for you to be free and a citizen of the greatest country on earth.
Below is a short clip of me speaking informally at the Annual Convention of Compassionate Friend in 2017