My dad was a Marine. My grandfather was in the Army, as was one of my uncles. Another uncle was in the Air Force. My grandfather fought in WWII, my Dad in Korea and my uncles in Vietnam. One of my uncles was a helicopter gunner and was shot down three times in combat. Another uncle had all but him and a few from his unit killed by a 6 year old boy walking out of the brush with a grenade.
Sadly, I do not know much more about any of these brave men’s service. They seldom talked about it and when they did, it was clipped and clearly painful to them. I know that at least my uncles found themselves in positions requiring they take others’ lives. I know my Dad lost a few friends. Beyond that, the details are lost in a history they would rather not remember; a history of, I am guessing, pain and loss.
These men in my family did the same thing that men and women from families in America have done since the Revolutionary War. They went to serve their country and to defend those who could not readily defend themselves. They walked into battles to right wrongs and atrocities so bad that words do not do justice to them.
These are men and women of our armed forces who demonstrated bravery, patriotism and a respect of country that we all would like to believe we have; but they did something about it by serving.
To each and every member of the United States Armed Services, past and present, we thank you. We owe you a debt that none of us who did not serve will ever fully appreciate or be able to repay. Thank you for standing on the wall that protected us from the enemy. Thank you for the bravery you showed, even when you were not sure you had it in you. Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that I can live in a country with freedoms that are guaranteed to me.
Please know we are proud of you and are grateful for the sacrifices you have made.