Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans' Day

Today I celebrate all who have served or are presently serving in the military. For my family, that includes my brother, Jerry, retired US Navy; my Uncle Allan, US Navy; cousin Wayne (deceased), US Navy; son-in-law Chad, US Air Force; nephew Keith, US Navy; cousin Pudge (Pat's husband), US Air Force; cousin Charlie (Kari's husband), retired US Air Force; Pete, Rachel's father, US Air Force; Ken, Sarah's father, US Air Force; Sarah's brother Ryan, US Coast Guard, and of course, my son Hans, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy. Am I proud? You bet I am! There isn't a day goes by that I don't think about them, especially Hans, as I have a photo of him in military dress both at home on my refrigerator and on my office wall.

My brother left for the Navy the day after I turned 18. I was shocked when he announced he was going as I had never heard him mention his desire to do so. I sure missed him through the years and looked forward to the times he would come "home" on leave. While he was in Viet Nam, he wrote to us whenever he got the chance. I saved some of his letters. Here's one:

4 July, 1966

Dear Donna & Steve,

Hope this finds you both well as I know it finds you busy. Enjoyed your last letter very much. Thanks for the pictures, they're just as I wanted.

Hope you made it to Ginny's okay. I've been thinking of you all day.

How was the family reunion? I'd have liked to have been there -- maybe next time.

Yesterday afternoon I went down to the Air Force chapel with a few fellas from here for a special service. Afterwards we had a steak fry. It was sure great.

Have been real busy here at C-med.

Well this is short but can't think of much to write about, guess I'm too tired.

Love, Jerry

Included in the envelope is a photo
taken by Jerry of four ships a little ways from the rocky shores. It is labeled "U. S. Navy off coast of B-med (Chu Lai)"

I treasure this letter and other letters from Jerry and the ones I kept from Hans.

This morning while singing in the choir at church, I noticed a man wearing a sailor suit in the congregation. There was an empty aisle seat next to him and his wife, so when the choir concluded our singing, I made my way to sit next to them. Following the service, I told him Happy Veterans' Day, shook his hand, and asked him on which ships he had served. He told me he was a yeoman on the USS Montpelier, USS Mount Vernon, and USS Macleish - all during WWII. Several people in the congregation came up to him to thank him for his service to our country. To that I say, "Amen."

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