Today is Veterans Day.
It’s a quasi-holiday. Banks and post offices are closed. For most of the rest of us, it’s business as usual.
But as we pause to remember the millions who served our nation, let’s think about the stories of every man.
In 2017, children at a Fairfield elementary school eagerly filled out forms honoring veterans they knew.
Six-year-old Declan O’Gorman proudly wrote “Grandma.”‘
Kendall Gardiner — a longtime Westport resident — joined the Army in 1967. She volunteered for Viet Nam.
Kendall served as a combat nurse on the ground, treating badly wounded soldiers in a M*A*S*H-type unit. She and her fellow nurses worked 12 hour shifts, 6 to 7 days a week.
But Declan’s school balked at “Grandma.” They made him rewrite the form, with help from his 7-year-old brother Luke.
“I think the school missed a great opportunity to educate the children about all the different people who choose to become soldiers,” Kendall writes.
“And they missed an opportunity for my grandson to learn I haven’t been ‘Grandma’ my whole life.”
She’s right. Names don’t matter. Actions do.
Thank you for your service, Kendall “Grandma” Gardiner.
Thanks too to all your fellow nurses, doctors, pilots, soldiers, sailors, and everyone else who served: the few remaining World II veterans; those in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan; those who were stateside, and those no longer with us.
Today, we honor you all.
(For more on Kendall Gardiner’s service, click here. Don’t forget this morning’s Veterans Day ceremony at Town Hall. The Community Band plays at 10:30; the speakers take the auditorium stage at 11.)
(“06880” is Westport’s hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work.)