When I watch the news every day, it just stirs old feelings of what our country has been through.
It especially brings back the memories of my brother, Gene Paul, coming home from leave in the mid-1960s.
I was 4 when we picked him up at the airport. I was so excited that I was going to see my big brother.
As the soldiers were coming down the stairs, there were cheers and screams and applause from friends and family members.
But there were also people holding up signs chanting things I didn't understand.
I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they weren't as happy as I to see them.
It was a time that we should have been celebrating safe returns of our friends, neighbors and relatives.
He had done two tours in Vietnam, and I remember the gifts he sent me, such as a beautiful Vietnamese doll whose name was Kasha Kei and beautiful silk pajamas. I still have those things and the memories of long ago.
After his honorable discharge, we were not allowed to speak of that time for years.
One thing the Vietnam servicemen and women can be most proud of now is they have taught our nation to separate government policy from the hardships and trauma our servicemen and servicewomen endured.
The young men and women who go off to war are our loved ones, not just an extension of government policy.
It took my brother more than 35 years to finally accept that what he did for this country was an honorable thing, and he is now proud to be called a Marine. I'm proud of my oldest brother. I appreciate the hardships he endured after his return home.
I'm proud to be from a military family.
My father, Oscar Carroll, served in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corp. He was discharged as a corporal.
My brother, Wayne, also joined the Marines during the Vietnam War era as a reserve. He never had to see action, but was ready and trained to do his call to duty.
As years went by and the war ended, my brother, Jeffrey, joined the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller. He did his duty and was honorably discharged.
Recently, my son, Steven Priff II, joined the Army. Even though I objected, I have to respect his decision.
He is my only son, and I know those of you with children in the service can understand my concern. I saw how Americans treated my brother, but I also see the respect in their eyes now when I walk with my son when he is in uniform.
I see the pride in my brother's eyes when he talks with his nephew.
Many feel it's time for our soldiers to come home, but we know the young men and women serving in our nation's military have no choice in the matter. I realize more than ever these are our family, friends and neighbors.
I am proud of America now and proud of how Americans have learned to treat the veterans.
I hope all of us will take time this holiday season to remember our servicemen and servicewomen, past and present.
The American Red Cross has information on how to send greetings to those that are actively serving in the military.
I have the best gift this year. I will enjoy the holidays with my son who is home on leave.
We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.
Kathy Josenhans lives in Port Orange with her husband, Frank, and their German shepherd, Heidi, and a cat named Bogie after Humphrey Bogart. She can be reached at Kjosenhans@gmail.com.