My grandfather, father, father-in-law, and at least four of my uncles were in the military. My grandfather survived D-Day. My father, father-in-law, and uncles were in Vietnam. Once my father spoke to me about his pre-deployment training. That was the only time I ever heard from any of them about their experiences in the military.
But, when I stayed with my dad or uncles, I heard their occasional nightmares. I saw the haunted look in my father's eyes when I went to check on him the first time. I saw how sorry he was that he disturbed me. HE was sorry. I understood, but it made me sad, because he shouldn't have been sorry, but it was the way he was raised. My grandfather drank to deal with the memories, my dad, being a clean alcoholic, wouldn't. Nor did he smoke or turn into a bitter old man. He simply kept it to himself, the way he was taught a man should. I'm glad we're moving away from that.
The look was completely gone the next morning, and we never mentioned it. I never woke him again, unless I could manage it by making a loud noise or some other contrivance, rather than physically waking him up. I knew he would rather deal with the nightmares than know that I had heard him again.
I am proud of my family members who have served. I am proud of all who have served. Thank you. Thank you for your physical service, your emotional and mental trials and tribulations. Thank you for everything your family has been through. For the milestones you didn't deserve to miss, for the pain you didn't deserve to go through, and for the day-to-day joys you should have been able to be there for, thank you.