Happy Veterans Day to those who have served.
We all have a story of someone who we know who is serving or has served in the U.S. military. I come from a long line of family members who have served in the Marines and Army. They all have different stories, yet all share in the fact that they served America.
My grandfather, an Italian immigrant, joined the Army. He was proud to serve his new country as a U.S. citizen. As a child, I remember him showing me the various medals he won while at war. In broken English, he shared stories of his life in war with his buddies, who he stayed in contact with for many years. I remember our conversations as if it was today. He had tears in his eyes when he spoke of those that were killed in combat. My grandfather is long gone, but his stories remain with me.
My father served in the Korean War. He enlisted as part of his duty. He was given an officer job in Germany where he worked on SOS communications. He never went into combat, but rather worked behind the scenes. He and my mother were engaged at the time. She waited for his letters to arrive. She missed seeing him, but looked forward to his return when they would get married. He returned and I was born shortly after their wedding.
Years later, my mother’s brother who was eleven years younger than her, joined the Marines to fight the Viet Nam War. He would write me letters from the front line of combat fearful for his life, yet committed to the fight for freedom. He would see his best friend step on a land mine and sent to an early death while suffering severe injuries that won him a few purple hearts and a metal plate in his head. He has never been the same and has wandered the streets of Miami for many years.
My uncle fought a war that I didn’t believe in, yet he had to; he had no choice. He paid dearly to defend his country. For him, life has been difficult. This is the case for many of the soldiers who have returned to the States injured and the families who have had to adapt.
On this day, I salute the military who each and every day protect our freedom and keep the delicate balance of power in the world. May God bless you all!