What follows is a short account of the veterans in my family and friends. As they are dead or back East, I have to write a short blurb to recognize and thank them for their service to our country.
To my ancestor who fought in World War One and brought back a cloth German Pickelhaube that decorates the family mantle.
My great-uncle Robert was a tank mechanic in Patton's Third Army. He loved the man, and would stand up to salute at his name.
My great-uncle Gene fought in World War II. He was at Pearl Harbor getting cigarettes for his shipmates on the Arizona when the Japanese attacked, and never forgave them, even after the war had ended. He survived the destruction of his destroyer at Midway.
My great-grandfather fought in the US Army. I never knew him.
My grandfather was a submariner during the Korean War. He never talked about his service.
My uncle was a member of the Marine Corps. He never talks about his service.
A colleague at work was deployed in Iraq as a Marine Corp sniper. During a tour of duty in Fallujah, insurgents threw grenades onto the rooftop where his squad was deployed. Two survived, and both received Purple Hearts. My friend was lightly wounded with shrapnel embedded in his body, but the other was blinded and hurt more badly.
To my ex-Navy work colleagues.
"Thank You" to these people in my life seems inadequate, so I must borrow the hard words of General Patton:
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.