Today I honor and give thanks to all the brave men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. Whether it be Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or the Coast Guard, I’m grateful to those who have secured the freedoms that I enjoy today.
In my own family, I honor my grandfather who served in WWII in a tank unit in Europe. He and my Uncle John, who had served in the Pacific, would occasionally swap stories, but the war was never a big topic of conversation. I don’t think it was because they weren’t proud to have served- I think that after seeing what they had seen, they preferred to keep it to themselves and those that shared that time with them.
My Dad served during what he’s always called “The Korean Occupation”. He served his time in France in the radio corps. I’m grateful that he wasn’t involved in combat.
My cousin Tony and my cousin Jim both served during Vietnam. Tony was in the Air National Guard and didn’t see any conflict, but Jim went to Vietnam as a Marine and returned with a Purple Heart.
My brother Andy served in the Navy for 17 years and spent time in Beirut and also was part of the Naval blockade during Desert Storm. He liked to say that being on the ship and firing was as close to combat as he wanted to get.
I hope that as you enjoy your picnics and gatherings that you take a moment to remember those in the service of our country and perhaps offer a prayer of thanks. Their sacrifice has made our picnics possible.