On this Veteran's Day I'd like to mention some veterans I've known in my life.
First is my Grandfather. He served in WWII in Germany in 1943 and 44 in the Army Corps of Engineers before coming back to live a long and productive life as a stock broker, then later an avid iris gardener before passing away last year. He was married for over 50 years to my Grandmother, and together they raised 3 children. They watched their kids raise 5 grandchildren, including me.
Second, my Father, who was in the National Guard during Vietnam. He served in a reserve capacity for 4 years, prepared to go to a foreign land if his country required it. He and my Mother were divorced when my sister and I were young, but in watching him pull himself back from the brink of death, I've learned more from him about strength and character that any other person.
Third, I spent 6 years in the US Navy from 1990-96. I spent time all over the country and northern and western Europe. I was on a Minesweeper and we swept for mines in the North Sea, further cleaning up the WWII mines laid by Nazi Germany. This is as close as I've ever been to what my Grandfather did for our country and the world.
Last, at least for now, is my son. At 17 years old he has made the decision that he is joining the Navy. He is a senior this year and will graduate in May of 2010 and then head off to serve the same country that I served, and my Father and Grandfather before me. He is currently in the Delayed Entry Program and applying for ROTC.
I keep trying to write things about my son here, but all I can say is that I am so proud of him for making this choice. I can't get the words out.
So to all you out there who have served, who serve now, and those who are still making the decision, please accept my gratitude for your sacrifice and dedication to us and our country. Remember that no matter what the rest of the world says, here, we're thankful that you have chosen to serve. Here, we enjoy the freedoms that you fight to protect, and without you, they would no longer exist.
Thank you, from me and mine.
2 days ago