Veterans Day 2010

Today is the official day to recognise the individuals who have served the USA by putting on military uniforms and (in most cases) going into harms way to preserve our way of life.

As a child I remember looking at the pictures of my dad in his army uniform.  My dad served in the European Theater during WWII.  While driving a jeep one day a grenade exploded behind his seat.  Dad carried shrapnel in his back for the rest of his life.  Understandably he always had back issues.

One thing I think most people don’t realize is that during WWII Uncle Sam gave free cartons of cigarettes to those men and women in uniform.  I guess they figured they needed something to help calm their nerves.  I suppose that there are a number of those same veterans who got hooked on the nicotine who later died on the battle field of lung cancer.  But that is complete conjecture on my part.

I, myself,  served seven years in the US Navy.  I went to Orlando, FL for bootcamp with a friend from highschool but we were almost immediately seperated throutgh the process.  I was stationed at Cecil Field, FL, Meridian, MS and Charleston, SC.  However, I was mostly in the aviation wing of the Navy and made three cruises on the USS John F. Kennedy (9, 11 & 13 months).  There’s something unique about sailing the Medeteranian Ocean with five thousand of your “closest friends.”  In fact, the outfit I was stationed with was VA-46.  We flew A-7 Corsairs (a single seater, single engine, attack jet).  Our squadron was involved in the Arab, Isralie conflict in 1973?  In fact one of our aircraft was nearly shot down.  It received a projectile right in the nose of the aircraft.  Twelve inches higher and it would have hit the pilot in the cockpit.  Twelve inches lower and it would have gone through the engine.  And incidently VA-46 is the same squadron John McCain served in!

I saw lots of jets crash (on deck, in the ocean, into the arresting nets).  I saw a few guys get killed by being careless.  It is said that the flight deck of an aircraft carrier is the most dangerous place to work.

I can still remember all the countries we visited (Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Scotland, Jamaica, Cuba and Crete).  Scotland was my favorite because I could understand the language.  France was my favorite because of the beaches (hey, I was young and stupid then).  I was only eighteen years old the first time we pulled into port in Cannes, France.  I never realized that French women didn’t shave their arm pits until on the beach that day a topless girl raised her arm for something.  Yikes!!

I’ve been thinking about Buddy and Alexis and little Cooper a good bit lately.  Cooper will be four years old on Sunday.  He was only three months old when Buddy was killed by that Taliban sniper.  If you haven’t read about him here are some links:  Buddy was truly a remarkable young man and would have been the best daddy.  If you want a better glimpse of what (some) families go through when those two green uniforms walk up to their front doors I have written about our journey here: .  Without question the most difficult experience(s) my family has ever experienced.

My family is not special, in the sense that we are the only ones who have experienced such sudden and profound grief.  There have been hundreds of thousands of families just like ours.  Sadly there will, undoubtedly, be thousands more.

Sometimes I think about Buddy and the joys he must be experiencing in his eternal home.  On an eternal scale I think that Buddy and those (who believe in the Savior) are the ones who kind of “made out” the best.  They (in their eternal home) no longer have to deal with this fallen world.

Just think, there are Veterans right this second who are dealing with profound injuries.  Think not only about those Veterans but think of their spouses, children, moms, dads, friends and relatives.  Every one of their lives have changed… forever.  What would our life be like should we have to be the primary care giver to a profoundly disabled loved one.  God bless and strengthen each one of them.

I encourage you, my fellow citizens, seek out your local Veterans.  Really, intentionally seek them out shake their hands, ask them if you can visit with them for a few minutes.  Sit with them and listen to the story of their lives.  Contact the “nursing homes” in your area and ask them if they have any Veteran residents.  Forge a relationship with them.  Would it be so difficult for each of us to sacrifice thirty minutes of our time once a month for such a noble cause.  Bring your children and teach them what it means to go outside of their comfort zones.  Teach your children to serve those who have served and sacrificed.

There is one thing that I very often wonder about.  I see those yellow magnetic “ribbons” on automobiles that say “Support our troops” or something like that.  I wonder what that means to the person behind the wheel of that vehicle.

So I have a couple of questions if you will indulge me, please.

1.  What does it mean to you to support our troops?

2.  How many of your family members have served in uniform and which branch?

In closing I would like to say THANK YOU to all of our service men and women.  And may the Lord, God Almighty not only bless the United States of America but may He bless the multitudes of the world.

Thank you for visiting my ramblings.



21 Responses to Veterans Day 2010

  1. Killjoy says:

    Great post. Happy Veteran’s Day.

  2. I like the pen-pal programs for our troops the best. You would be astonished at how happy they are when you send something as simple as chocolate or a magazine.

  3. sugali says:

    This is indeed a touching write up. It always touch my heart hearing stories of incredible people willing to sacrifice for their country. Here is a link that you might find interesting

    God bless and bst regards:)
    p/s thank you for visiting my site.

  4. Laura (LS) says:

    Well… to answer your questions…

    1. Support. Well, first off, it means that I have a full understanding (well, as far as my inexperience can take me) of what it means to send a person into a potential or actual war zone. That that person may never come back.

    It means keeping those people in my heart and mind, and NOT saying things like some of our politicians have been recorded saying (“they’re rapists and murderers” – disgraceful).

    It means occasionally – as much as I can – sending care packages to those who are over there, even if it’s “just” a letter of support, encouragement, and thanks.

    2. Service. In my immediate family, my brother and my dad were both Army Men. Brother was in Panama in the mid-’70’s, and Dad was in Korea as an MP.

    In my extended family, all of my uncles (all 14 of them) served in one war or another, from WWI – Korea. All were too old for Vietnam, and my cousins were too young, but one of my uncles actually served in WWI AND WWII.

    One thing that I did… several years ago, I sat all of my dad’s siblings down, one by one, and asked them to write their childhood stories… they grew up in Chicago before and during the Depression… and put them in a book for myself and all of my cousins.

    I followed that up with a book of all of their Military Stories. We got stuff that we never knew about – service aboard a carrier in Japan, a near-death experience, an attendant at the Battle of the Bulge, and a witness to a surrender of German Soldiers to General Patton.

    Last year, working for our local newspaper, I did the same thing for our local VFW, and published their stories in a special section.

    I encourage everyone, as you do, to sit down with a Veteran. He or she may be reluctant at first, to tell their story, because so many people want to turn their service into a political ‘thing’. But when they realize that you are there to respect them, to learn from them, it’s amazing what you hear and learn.

  5. averagetodd says:

    Thank you for your service, the service of your loved ones, and to all those who have served, sacrificed, or lost someone special, THANK YOU.
    In answer to your questions, I think that supporting our troops means recognizing that they are individuals. Too often people talk about “the military” in political terms. It’s easy for people to say, “we should bomb iran” or “we need to escalate, surge”,, etc. These discussions have their place, but they tend to ignore the fact that the military is, when all is said and done, a group of men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. These people are offering up the most precious thing they have to offer, their lives, and they are doing it for you and I, people they will never meet. They are courageous. They are afraid, but they go anyway. These people deserve our respect and honor. But the best thing we can do to support them is to demand that no one’s sacrifice is in vain. That means demanding from our leaders that we never put our people in harms way unless it is absolutely necessary. That means honoring every promise we make to these soldiers. That means recognizing every sacrifice they make. That means thinking of our servicemen and women on days other than Veterans Day.

    I currently have a cousin in the Army and my grandfather served in the Navy in WWII. I also have friends and loved ones who have served. I have developed a relationship with one man in particular who fought at Anzio in WWII. He loves telling his stories to anyone who wants to listen. Your suggestion of contacting nursing homes is a great idea. I have been thinking about getting my girlfriends daughter involved in some volunteer work or community service and I am going to suggest this idea. We all share in the freedoms, the rewards, that our troops provide and protect. We certainly should share our thanks, our thoughts, and our time in return.

  6. enola says:

    Thank you for your service and that of your family.

    My brother-in-law recently served his second tour in Iraq. For us, we prayed daily for him. We put him on our church prayer list. My husband sacrificed his vacation time so that we could drive 8 hours to go visit my sister. She is a stay-at-home mom who had 3 kids to herself all summer. We gave her a much-needed break. My husband also worked some overtime to fly me up to visit my sister again. We sent care packages to my BIL very often. We also listened when he needed to vent.

  7. Joni says:

    Thank you for your sacrifice. And my condolences for your sacrifice. God bless you and your family.

  8. […] I have a new blog friend with a compelling story of his family’s experience. If you are willing to take a minute, please visit Michael here. […]

  9. Nick Wood says:

    Thank you.
    And thank you for the kind words you put on my blog. You may be interested to read what I put on my other blog –

    To answer your questions – I support our troops because they are doing a dangerous job to protect us, the civvies.
    My Great Grandfather served in the army in WW1 was killed in 1918 and his son, my Grandpa served in the RAF as a mechanic in WW2 and survived. That’s it I’m afraid, but it doesn’t stop me respecting others who serve and who served.


  10. donstuff says:

    Have a blessed Veteran’s Day! Thank you for your service.
    To me, support means being grateful to and for the person who serves to protect my family, friends and me (whether or not I believe in the cause at the moment).
    I never served in the armed forces, but most of my family has – mostly in the Army (dogface seems to sum up the men in my family), but we had one in the Air Force and one in the Navy.
    Again, thank you for your service and sacrifice (even on the beaches in France – couldn’t resist).

  11. Joy says:

    Thanks Michael for putting this on here and thank your daughter. That poor girl. I just watched Buddy’s MySpace video. Man, that was so touching to me that I can’t even think straight. I had to let several tears flow.

  12. mssc54 says:

    Everyone; Thank you so much for taking the time to, not only read my blog, but too leave your words of condolance and encouragement. It really does help.

    Thanks also to those of you who make an effort to make a difference in our military men and women’s lifes. Alexis used to send Buddy a “care package” every other week and he was the envy of his company.

    Joy… that MySpace video still makes me cry too.

    Thanks again all.

  13. Rev Jacqueline Freeman says:

    You did a beautiful job on all of your writings about Buddy and Veterans Day. I fully enjoyed reading it. You put a lot of emotion into your sharing.
    Pray your life is going well and that of your family.
    Love and Blessings
    Your cousin
    Jackie Freeman

  14. Lindsey says:

    Thank you and your family for your service and sacrifice. I think supporting our troops means being active on a civic level and being sure that our military and veterans programs are properly funded, as well as donating time money and goods to programs like the USO, to be ABSOLUTELY sure our men and women in uniform are taken care of.

    My cousin fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thank God he’s home with his wife and baby now. I just can’t imagine what it must be like to lose someone. He was army. My grandfather (who was amish at the time) fought in the WW2.

  15. mssc54 says:

    Hey Cuz; So nice of you to drop in. Keep in touch. Did you know that mom will be 80 years old on Dec 5?

    Lindsey; Hey thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. I do so aappreciate your words.

    I had no idea about your family’s service. Thanks for that!

    Another “layer of the onion” pealed away. lol

  16. froggywoogie says:

    I was in the French Navy in 1976. Maybe we met each others one day? I was based in Toulon.

    Great post and I salute you

  17. brianshaw says:

    MSSC54, Thank you for your service to this country. My father, both of my grandfathers, and at least one of my great grandfathers have fought in at least one war. I am not a veteran myself but hold US military service in the highest regard.

    God bless all of you who have or do serve–I do not take the freedom you are protecting for granted.

  18. extracruem says:

    supporting the troops is praying for them and voting for poiliticians with records that value and back our troops. Thanks for your service. Ken

  19. kwoneshe2 says:

    Thank you for your service, and I’m sorry about your daughter’s loss, which was the rest of the family’s as well. 😦

    My husband was in the Army, and his oldest boy is serving in Iraq right now….as a combat medic.

  20. mssc54 says:

    Kwoneshe2 thank you for your kind words.

    I don’t know how much you read about Buddy but he too was a combat medic.

    I hope and pray that your husband’s boy is linked up with some good support guys. They will be the difference.

    Thanks again.

  21. angryafrican says:

    Sorry that I am a bit late. I have been on the road the last few weeks. I read this post just after you wrote it. And I started to read more about Buddy. Found posts all over the place. I don’t know what to say that you don’t already know. Just this… I am proud of even knowing someone who blogs that was part of his life. I am not American, but I can tell you that people like Buddy and yourself and your family make America great. And you and buddy and everyone make me proud of even walking on this land of yours at the same time.

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