Today is Veteran’s Day. It is a great time to recognize all the women and men who serve their country tirelessly, safeguarding those in need putting their own welfare at risk and sacrificing time with their families. I know very well what it is like to be a member of a military family. My father served in the [USSR] army for 26 years. I remember very well what it is like to miss him, to see him in his full gear going off on patrol into the night, away for exercises and also the joy that it was to see him come home.
I alluded to this briefly before, but we lived in Baku during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Soviet army was ordered to keep order and defend the Armenian population in Azerbaijan. As a result, the families of the armed forces became targets themselves and we were subject to constant harassment, threats that culminated with sniper shoot outs. In the winter of 1989 while under heavy sniper siege (which saw the deaths of several of my sister’s classmates), we were transferred to the city’s barracks and prepared for immediate evacuation. The few days we spent there, sheltering from sniper fire were tumultuous. I saw my dad lead a fire-team in returning fire from the room we were staying at, my mom in tears as we said our goodbye leaving for Kiev while he and the other officers stayed back. I was 5 or 6 then and didn’t understand the gravity of the situation, but the memories and visuals stayed with me. So I really mean it when I thank those who put their lives at stake to make sure we live ours to our fullest potential.
… and I think it is a perfect reminder that there is NO traffic in either direction on the Washington D.C.’s beltway! 🙂 My commute was just shy of 25 minutes, a far cry from the usual 50 minute commute (each way).