• Blimp pilot in World War II. That’s right, a blimp.
• Infantry in Korea. I still have his jacket and duffel bag.
• Infantry in World War II. He had to hide out with a local family in Normandy. He was still receiving Christmas letters in the early 80’s under is fake name.
• Chaplain with the SEABEES and at Paris Island. He earned the marksman badge. The bodyguard assigned to him during combat…did not.
• From childhood skater kid to US Navy SEAL. I used to work with him in a greenhouse and doing landscaping.
• Midshipmen to service on a submarine. He used to take his coffee with a 70/30 split. 70% milk, 30% coffee. More like taking a little coffee with his milk. His graduating class went in and worked a package deal to buy gray Chevy Camaros. That salesman probably still remembers that negotiation.
• He used to search rivers looking for the dead bodies of murder victims with the Coast Guard.
• My Dad and I spent many Saturdays on the 50 yard line watching Navy Football games with him. He served in the Air Force.
• A week before he turned 19 he stormed the beaches of Normandy. He was later captured and tortured as a POW. The things he experienced were still with him in his late 80’s. He was one of the nicest people you could meet.
• He was injured in Vietnam. You can still see the injury. He manages to joke about it with his grandkids. He also completed his first marathon at the age of 65.
This list started with one or two people coming to mind. The more I wrote the more I remembered and I may have even forgotten some. Most are still living and the ones who have passed on did so in civilian life long after their service. Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. Today, many businesses are closed in recognition. Whether you’re at work or not, it’s never too late to say “thank you.”
Always remember. Never forget.