BRASWELL: Veteran’s Day

By Dr. Jimmy Braswell

Chaplain, Home Hospice of Odessa

Veteran’s Day is approaching. It will be a time to express appreciation to veterans living and to those who have died in service to our country.

Two words come to mind and both are illustrated in the lives of my two brothers who are dead, but served in Vietnam. The first word is protection.

My brother, Randy, exemplified it. He was dropped covertly across the border in Laos and not only did his family not know of it, but he was never recognized for that service. Being a protector was his goal and he died as a result of chemical poisoning.

He became a hospice patient and revealed to us his service during his final days. I told him I understood he was not to reveal that tour and his response was “What are they going to do? Kill me?” He was already dying with his poisoning.

The second word is security. My eldest brother, Les, served as a helicopter medic for two tours and only recently died. He used to say that when he jumped off the helicopter, the Cong began shooting at him instead of the others. He doubled as a lay chaplain for those dying, as chaplains seldom were in the field.

He was security for those soldiers and to us, his brothers and sister after my mother’s early death in a car accident. He became “mother” to us. At his memorial, my sister and I remembered him as giving us security. Protection and Security — that’s what our veterans give us in their service.