Today is Veteran's Day! We owe a debt to our nation's military service veterans that we can never repay. Our history is replete with accounts of normal, average, non-descript citizens who have stepped up in times of national need and performed extraordinary selfless acts of heroism and service above and beyond the strict call of duty. Many have willingly paid the ultimate price as a measure of their devotion to their fellow citizens. Gentlemen and ladies...I salute you, today. Gentlemen and Ladies...I sincerely thank you, today.
A few blog entries ago I asked "Where Do We Find These People?" I recounted an encounter I had with a single mother U.S. Army Reservist who had received orders to deploy with her unit to Afghanistan next year. She was willingly making such a tremendous sacrifice because she loves her Country. Let me tell you about a few other people who I greatly admire.
During World War II there were two commanders in the Pacific Theater. One was General Douglas MacArthur. General MacArthur was the greatest American general ever. He had a natural ability to manage overall strategy that is unparalleled. His military campaigns resulted in fewer American casualties than any other commander.
However, the person who I admire and want to tell you about is one of General MacArthur's contemporaries...Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief Pacific Area Command (CINCPAC). He was not as gifted as General MacArthur but through hard work and devotion became Larry Bird to General MacArthur's Magic Johnson, if you'll excuse the archaic basketball reference. Admiral Nimitz came from humble means. He rose through the ranks and assumed command of the Pacific forces after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. You may recall the condition of those forces after the sneak attack on that day of infamy. Admiral Nimitz displayed a humble confidence and is in large part responsible for the success of the Pacific Campaign that lead to the defeat of Japan.
Another man who I greatly admire is not as well known but like Admiral Nimitz came from humble beginnings. He answered his nation's call and served in the army during World War II. He participated in the campaigns in North Africa and in Europe following D-Day. He was a Medic. He used to entertain his children with stories of his experiences during the war. He spared them on the more graphic details, but he did have many interesting experiences. His devotion to his country was passed on to his children who also volunteered and served honorably in the armed services during the Vietnam War Era. This man never rose above being a middle class, blue collar worker but he earned the respect of all who were fortunate to know him. I was privileged to call him "Dad!"
Last, but by no means least, a third person who I admire greatly also rose from humble beginnings. This person never served on active duty in the military but was married to a serviceman who did. She created and maintained a home. It did not matter how financially strapped they were or where they were living, this person always managed to provide a comfortable, safe refuge from the stresses of the world outside. This person was a constant source of love, support and encouragement. This person often had to maintain the home by herself because her serviceman was away due to his military commitments. This person continued to make sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty over the years after military service during her husband's law enforcement career and continues to do so to this day. I am blessed to call her SWMBO. She is my devoted wife of 38 years, Lynn Marie, who made all these sacrifices without complaint.
When you remember your special veteran, also remember the family members who supported them and served with them as well. Where do we find these people?
I am so proud to be an American!