The following is a repost, refreshed for style and accuracy in time references, and updated with the very special video. This serves as this week's contribution to Dad-Blogs.com Fatherhood Friday.
The idea for this post came before the news of the horrible act at Fort Hood, Tx. Prayers and thoughts to those brave soldiers who were felled in the last place they ever expected to be threatened.
This is something I've come to share with my kids each Veteran's Day, in my efforts to remind them of the importance of paying tribute to those who have served in the Armed Services.
On the occasion of Veteran's Day, I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have served.
I've never served in the military, but I've worked for Defense Contractors for the last 13 years; not sure if that fits the definition of irony or not. However, I don't feel particularly guilty about having not served; anyone who knows me in person can probably guess I may have very likely been passed over for induction. This much I have told to a number of veterans with whom I worked with in the Defense Contracting area, and no one has disagreed with me.
Regardless, had I been drafted (assuming, of course, there was an active draft provision, I was old enough, etc.) I would have likely burst out laughing the first time I was told to 'drop and give me 20', knowing well that would probably be the last time I ever laughed in uniform. In the end, I would have made a good ol' fashioned 'dog faced' grunt, I would have done my duty and that would be it; I have no delusions of grandeur that I could be officer material.1
Those same colleagues who know me - when they heard me say this - chuckled appreciatively and agreed.
In college, I saw students in ROTC, and while others found it easy to joke about, insult, or in other ways disrespect them, I knew they had more courage than the rest of the student body to wear their uniforms on campus, in spite of the narrow minds who mocked them.
Back in May '04, on the occasions of Memorial Day and the opening of the WWII Memorial I wrote a piece dedicated to my uncles:
Anthony, one of my father's 3 older brothers, was called to service in March of 1942, just less than 3 months after Pearl Harbor. He served the US Air Force in crash recovery, piloting a PT boat, recovering the many who were downed during the battle of Midway. Unlike the average GI who served about 2 years (with furloughs), Tony served for 3 years and almost 10 months; no breaks, no furloughs. A year later, Gasper - my father's oldest brother - was drafted. He first guarded German POWs as an MP and later served as a medic, providing triage in France.The men and women of the US Military -- and their families -- have given in ways that only they can understand. Those of us who have never served cannot fully comprehend this, and are asked to do nothing more but to remember, and to respect their sacrifices. Anyone who attempt to denigrate or insult those soldiers, in peace or in war, deserve the utter disdain of the rest of us.
My father and his other older brother, Vincent, had poor eyesight and were not eligible for the draft. They, like the majority of others, fought the war on the homefront, with war bonds, scrap drives, victory gardens, and by working hard.
Six or so years later, John, my father's brother-in-law, spent years defending liberty in Korea.
To these men, and to the countless others who have served this nations military, and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I salute you. My uncles all came home, but it was the Spring of '04 when we said our last farewell to Gasper, and farewell to John earlier this year, but the work they performed should never be forgotten. And it never will be, if I have my way.
As George Orwell has been widely attributed with saying, We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
Thank God for the brave members of the United States Armed Forces: past present and future.
This weekend we will be visiting my uncle Anthony, who is celebrating his 90th birthday (geeze, I hope it's not a surprise party! How awful would that be?). My oldest son turns 14 today, and has heard the details of the above post many times before. His brother, 8 years younger, is still unable to grasp the concepts of war and sacrifice (as well he shouldn't), but he does appreciate the fact that his great-uncle was in the Army, and that my two nephews (quick: someone tell me what MY nephews are to my kids - their second cousins, 17-times removed or whatever) are in the Air Force.
All kids should be taught to appreciate the sacrifices others have made in protection of freedom and liberty.
and especially on the news of the Fort Hood shootings.
1This discussion with my defense contractor colleagues regarding my doing 20 push-ups occurred LONG before I began my Taekwondo training. At that time, the idea of my doing even 5 push-ups was laughable! Sphere: Related Content
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