Sweets for Soldiers (and Sailors): A Tale of Two Men

by Jennifer on November 11, 2012

in Awesome Treats

This is the story about two men.

Two men who served their country by joining the US Navy and were assigned to the USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier.

28 years apart.

(On the right)

One of them had to get his parents’ permission to enlist at 17, determined to serve during Vietnam. He contracted malaria in Africa, which still prevents him from donating blood today. He won over $10,000 dollars playing roulette at a casino in South Africa and after several days of good ‘ol debauchery with his fellow sailors, left with a couple dollars to his name.

The other one enlisted right after high school, putting his college education on hold to serve his country for 9 1/2 years. He spent countless days at sea, including two deployments. He was spat on and called “a white devil” in Bahrain for simply being an American.

I know both of these men. They are the most important men in my life.

My husband…

…and my step-father.

Despite all of the military service in my family (my grandfather and uncle also served), and even being a military girlfriend/wife for many years, I don’t always take the time to think about what it all really means.

And, it means everything. 

While I had the privilege of going to college right after high school, where my biggest worry was (always) getting a good grade and (frequently) having a good time, my husband was protecting this country from a very real and ever present threat and dealing with the crushing loneliness of life at sea.

Nowadays, we set aside our political affiliations, and whether we agree with our military actions or not, we support our veterans. But, it wasn’t always this way. My step-father served during a time when weary soldiers and sailors coming home were not met with gratitude, but with contempt. His service was not celebrated, not respected. Thankfully, as our feelings towards veterans shifted, he can finally receive the thanks that he deserves.

I began writing this post as a specific blog project for the wonderful Amy at Rolling Sin – Sweets After Dark. Truth is, my husband doesn’t want for sweet things and I plan to make something yummy for my step-father next time I see him, so I don’t have a new treat to share. But, please remember, the smallest gesture can mean so much. Thank a veteran for his or her service. Mean it. Give them something sweet. Send them a free card. Adopt a service member through a number of non-profit organizations. Most of all, take a minute to contemplate what it means to serve and the sacrifices that have been made to give you the life that you have.

 Be grateful. Today and always. 

Leave a Comment

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Donna November 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

A wonderful story and two very wonderful men! Thank you to both for their service.

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2 Jennifer November 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

Thank you very much, Donna!

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3 maggie November 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

Love the post! This is totally off topic but your wedding dress looks beautiful!

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4 Jennifer November 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

Thank you, Maggie! It was the only one I tried on :) I loved the 3/4 length sleeves!

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5 Alexa November 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Thank you for posting this. I wish people had given your step-dad the gratitude he has always deserved. I remember when your husband deployed and how great you were supporting him. And I remember when I deployed and how great you were supporting me. Thank you :)

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6 Jennifer November 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm
7 Mike November 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

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8 Jennifer November 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Thank you, Mike!

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9 SweetSugarbelle November 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Once upon a time I was a navy wife too…I understand better than anyone what they sacrifice for us. Thank you!

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10 Jennifer November 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

Thanks, Callye! I’m thankful for military families too; they sacrifice so much.

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11 Amy November 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Wonderful post Jennifer! Thank you for sharing! I will be sure to include it in my post tomorrow. Of course, you’ve said most of the stuff I wanted to say, so now my post will look like I’m copying you, but that’s ok…most of the time I am copying you anyways. :)

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12 Jennifer November 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

Thanks for hosting this wonderful project! :)

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13 Carrie's Creations November 12, 2012 at 10:55 am

what a great post. thank you for sharing and the extra little reminder. :)

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14 Jennifer November 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Thanks, Carrie :)

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15 Kristina (paddle attachment) November 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Jennifer – What a touching post. Thanks so much for sharing a part of your story. And thank you to your husband and your step-father, for their service to our country. I applaud them and their fellow soldiers/sailors. Hearts, Kristina

p.s. I love your wedding dress too. Like you, I wore the only one I tried on!

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16 Jennifer November 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thank you, Kristina. It is not something that I talk about very often, but I’m incredibly proud of them both and I don’t say it enough!

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