Each year I want to remember my Uncle LaVor on Veteran’s Day, but there aren’t really appropriate products on the market to do that. (At least, there aren’t appropriate products that I particularly like. Look, I’m a stationery snob, alright?) This year, I was really inspired by Paper Coterie’s Heroes series. Finally, something on the market that is lovely and appropriate for the occasion. So my Dad arranged with my Auntie Barbara to sneak out all of my Uncle LaVor’s slides from Vietnam. Dad had the slides scanned so that we had hi-res digital files to work from and we chose about 50 to have retouched by the insanely awesome team at Pixels for use on a Paper Coterie Memory Keeper Box, Book and Scallop Cards. Thank you to the Paper Coterie team for creating something that I have been waiting years to find.
I don’t know my Uncle LaVor very well. He owns my Dad’s family’s small dairy farm and works harder than anyone I know. He is still as handsome as he was in these photos. He is a voracious reader and incredibly smart. He has a dry wit and a sarcastic sense of humor. He has built an observatory on the hill behind his house and I am dying to go there and see the stars from the valley that was named after them.
I do know that his Vietnam War experience profoundly affected him. So what do you say to someone that you don’t really know very well, but has given up so much for you?
I think what I want most of all is for my Uncle to know how much my Dad loves him. My Dad is passionate about politics, about history and about current events. He constantly challenges our thinking and our family has a real appreciation for the fact that we live in a free country and can have healthy debate around the dinner table. (Because we do, nearly every Sunday. And yes, I’m the token “liberal.”) My Dad has always made it a priority for us to know about the Vietnam War and to know about my Uncle’s service. And because of this he has infused in all of us a deep respect for what it means to be a Veteran and what Veterans mean to all of us, every day.
My Uncle is the reason that I care about the Vietnam War. That I have learned so much about it, have tried to understand it, and will never forget it. My Uncle is the reason that I watch the news and listen to NPR in the morning. He is the reason that I care about what is going on in the world. My Uncle is the reason that I vote (and I would be utterly ashamed if I didn’t.) He is the reason that I care deeply about Veteran’s affairs and issues.
I don’t think it is any coincidence that Veteran’s Day falls during the month where we give Thanks. So I guess what you say to someone that you don’t really know very well, but has given up so much for you is this: