Regarding J. Mark Jackson's Nov. 11 op-ed "A veteran's dark lifetime gift":

On Nov. 11, for the first time, my husband and I marched in a Veterans Day parade. My husband served for 20 years in the Marine Corps, and I served for two years and eight months in the Navy. We met and married in Okinawa, Japan, 40 years ago. In serving this great country, we made a few sacrifices; our daughter attended five elementary schools (we saw the moves as opportunities to make new friends).

At the parade, we were showered with "Thanks for your service" comments, handshakes and hugs. This parade brought tears to our eyes. Although my husband retired in 1992 and we settled in Dumfries, the parade was in Branson, Mo.

Parts of the country may be divided, but this parade united we who served. May it lead to an understanding in our country that we had the pleasure of serving to keep our country free and safe.

Pat Hayden, Dumfries