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 and defend 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.  True and correct but conjecture none-the-less.

Myself, I served seven years in the US Navy.  I was mostly in the aviation wing of the Navy and made three cruises aboard 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.”

I saw lots of jets crash (on deck, in the ocean, into the arresting nets).  I saw a few guys get killed because they were careless.  The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is not the place to be careless… it is a very unforgiving environment.

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 and I remember it was sooooo green too!  France was my favorite because of the beaches (hey, I was young and stupid then).

I’ve been thinking about Buddy and Alexis and little Cooper a good bit lately.  Cooper will be three years old in a little over a week.  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 glimpse of what (some) families go through when those two green uniforms walk up to their front door 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 and the constant struggle those injuries bring in day to day life.  However, we should  not only think about those Veterans, but think too of their spouses, children, moms, dads, friends and relatives.  Every one of their lives have  beenchanged too… 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 stories 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 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?

3.  Would you like to share their story with us?

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.



6 Responses to VETERANS DAY 2009

  1. Margie says:

    THANK YOU ONE AND ALL. For everything.

    There is an email that goes around ever so often about Only Two Defining Forces Have Ever Died For You: Jesus The Christ And Your American Soldier – Jesus Died For Your Soul And The Soldier Died For Your Freedom.

    So true, and today is set aside, like Christmas for Christ, to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  2. Joy says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m thinking of you and your family today Michael. I’m also thinking of your Buddy.

  3. My mother and grandfather served in the Army, while my oldest brother was a Marine. In fact, I didn’t know we’d ever been to war in Korea until my Grandpa told me about his tour of duty when I was a kid.

    I’m glad that we take the time to honor our soldiers and that you take the time, every year, to share your family’s story. Buddy was truly courageous.

  4. lawyerchik1 says:

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

    To me, it means supporting their objective (whatever it is), asking God to protect them wherever they are and whatever they’re doing, and to try to make sure (to the extent that it depends on me) that the sacrifices they have made are not wasted. It also means doing what I can where I can to demonstrate that support in a tangible way (although I totally cannot keep from crying when I try, so I do better at writing, sending care packages when I can, and other “arm’s length” types of activities).

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

    My dad and my oldest brother were in the Marine Corps. One of my uncles was in the Army and one was in the Air Force. My sister is currently in the Army (scheduled to retire next year, I think). My oldest brother’s wife was in the Navy.

    I’m not sure what to tell, as far as their “stories” – most of them don’t talk much about their time in the service with me (or other civilians), although my sister will talk with other servicemembers. My dad went into the Marine Corps after he graduated from high school; he didn’t finish basic training because he blew out his knee during a football game.

    My oldest brother joined the Army reserves after high school, and then he went into the Marine Corps – not sure how that worked. He served stateside until he finished. His wife was in the Navy when they met and married, and she got a medical discharge when she became pregnant with their first child.

    I’m not really sure about my uncles – my one uncle was a doctor during the Korean war. We have home movie footage of him on an aircraft carrier that is pretty cool. I think that he was in the states, though, for much of his career. My other uncle was also in the Korean war – stationed in Puerto Rico, I think, for his tour. I don’t think either of them saw any combat.

    My sister went into the Army through ROTC in college; she was commissioned as a lieutenant when she graduated, and she went to Saudi Arabia in the first Gulf War. Since then, she’s been to Korea, Germany, Cuba, Florida, Georgia, Washington State, New Jersey, and now D.C.

    As far as “support,” that’s kind of how I decide what to do – I listened to my sister and my oldest brother about what they appreciated from family and others, and I do what I do in line with what they said they appreciated most.

  5. Des says:

    Support our troops means to give them a clear objective and the tools to reach that goal. This could be translated to any area of life.

    My Dad was in the Army between Korea and Vietnam. Drove an ambulance in Germany and basically couldn’t stand the whole ordeal. Ended up getting many flight certificates with the GI Bill though.

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