Uncles Bob, George, Rudy, Shelby, Richard, Vaughn and Lee were all veterans. The first four in the list fought in WWII. Two of them were shot and one of those two returned from the Pacific with malaria. After months of weight loss, yellow skin and bad dreams Rudy recovered from the disease. He died ten years ago with fifty year old fragments of shrapnel in his thigh.
One uncle was a teamster, one was a plumber, two were farmers, two worked in a sawmill, and one stayed in the military until he retired. In spite of the fact that all but one were drafted, not one complained about having to serve. At family reunions, when asked by admiring young nephews, they would share their funny stories, keep the bad ones to themselves, and make clear, that if necessary, they would do it all over again.
Brad, Ace, Mike, Tom Sr., Mike, Steve, Robert, Earl, Joe, Chris, Stan, Ross, are just a few friends of mine who have served in the military. In various branches and at various times they gave of themselves knowing, as every person in the military must, that they could be asked to give more than any of us care to think.
Rodger, Robert, and Eric, each serving now, will be celebrated as veterans in the not too distant future. There is something Christlike about the choice to serve. My hunch is that each of these guys would be uncomfortable with accolades. All of my uncles were. Let me say, on behalf of many who love and admire you, thanks.
As a kid I was regaled with stories and I asked probing questions about the experiences that my uncles, my Dad and other veterans had. Kid’s don’t think about saying thank you. Let me do so now… thank you.
And thanks be to God for your willing service, your love for family and friends and your commitment to your country.