I hadn't planned to do a Veteran's day post. I had other plans. Then I started reading a couple of other blogs to start my day and ran across this one from A Voice of Reason, who just recently restarted blogging. You should read it, he knows what he's talking about.
I told Voice that I never had the privilege of serving in the armed services. My father was in the Army Air Forces. It was part of the Army, but split off to be the Air Force, so technically, I think he was in the Air Force. He joined in 1945, I believe after VE day (Victory in Europe - May 8) but before VJ day (Victory in Japan - Aug 15). When I asked him what he did during the war, he said he typed letters, drove generals around in jeeps, etc. He spent some time in Japan (after VJ day).
And my favorite memory, is his explanation of the beginning and the end of his service. Seems he was stationed in Seattle for a while, waiting on a ship to take him to Japan. While he was there, he planted grass seed every day. When he came back from Japan, he had to cut the same grass he had started a few years earlier. How ironic.
All of my dad's brothers served in the armed services. One was at the Battle of the Bulge. Another was in the Navy. I've heard some great Navy stories from that uncle. One of my dad's brothers spent a great deal of time in the last few years of his life helping at the VFW, serving other veterans.
I have two brothers who served in the Air Force. One was only in the service for four years and he met his wife there. He enlisted late in the Vietnam era and spent his career either in San Antonio, Tx or a little town in Italy. The second brother was in for over 20 years, much of it in the Philippines. He also was in San Antonio a while, Myrtle Beach SC, and in NJ. He had several short assignments, Germany, Panama, Korea and others I can't recall. And he went to the Dhahran Saudi Arabia in the first Gulf War. While he was there, he made a cassette tape one night while Scud missiles were falling at or near his base. Sometime, I'll listen to that again.
More recently, my step-son served in the Army. He jumped out of planes. He had already enlisted when I first met him and was at Ft. Bragg when his mother and I married. Since 9/11 occurred about two weeks prior to the wedding, we weren't sure he would make it. But he did and few months later he went to Afghanistan. After that, he came "home" (to Ft. Bragg) and then went to Iraq. After his duties in Iraq, he faced a new battlefront, marriage (sorry, couldn't resist that).
Currently, my step-son-in-law is serving in the reserves as he studies to be a Chaplain. He was full army for a while before he went to college. Unfortunately, I don't know much about those days in his life. I do know that he has a lot of Army plans in his future.
All of the above named veterans came home safely. In fact, I can only think of one veteran I personally know who didn't come home safely. Joe Freeman died in Vietnam when I was about 10 years old. His name is on panel 30W of the wall. I didn't really know him, but I knew his family. We went to the same church. I remember attending a service in his honor. And I remember tears in his father's eyes.
Today, I want to say thank you to all of the veterans I know. Thank you for your service. Whether you were drafted or you enlisted, whether you went overseas or just served here. Whether you were in during peace time or during war. Thank you. Thank you for giving up part of your life to protect mine.