Honoring Veterans Every Day

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front porch buntingI grew up loving a veteran: my Dad, a larger than life man who flew jets from the time I could finger paint until the time I could vote. His Air Force career spanned three decades and covered the globe (sometimes with us, and sometimes without). Our lives were interwoven into his sense of duty, patriotism and honor. As his family, we were along for the ride, or flight as the case may be.

While other kids met their Dad at the door each day, we would assemble on the flight line to reunite with a man we hadn’t seen in months. There was no complaining, no whining, and no grousing about time lost, missed birthdays and anniversaries. We would pick up where we left off and embrace our lives together, for however long that would be until the next assignment or remote tour.

Behind him was my mother. A veteran in her own right, she was the glue that held our family together during long absences and uncertain times. They were (and are) a team. When we’d say grace, we’d also pray for the safe return of my father. When my father was back at the head of the table, my mother would amend grace to include a pray of thanks and gratitude.

On this Veteran’s Day, I would like to salute the men and women of the armed forces for their service and to their families, for they don’t undertake this sacrifice and journey alone. Every day, our lives are touched by those who serve and have served our country. Every day we are likely to unknowingly encounter someone who has lost a loved one or a family member to the horrors of war.

Heroes are among us, living their lives quietly and without the recognition they so often deserve. Each veteran has a story, a story that plays out on the pages of our nation’s history and character.

From my father, to my three uncles who served in World War II, to my friend Leo who’s kind smile and quick laugh belie what his eyes have seen as a young soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan, I thank you all for your service. As a nation, know we not only hold you in high esteem this day, but every day.

Family pic

Home from overseas (Japan), and a few years before my brother joined the family.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Tommy, this is so beautifully written, and so very true of families. The Greatest Generation also included the families, and most importantly the families of those who served. I love the picture too. You are so adorable…and of course you would have a beautiful family! Thanks for sharing your words, and friendship. 20 years this year my friend. A blessing!

  2. What a beautiful tribute, dear Tom!! Today, 11/11 it is Remembrance day. Beautifully & well said, my friend!
    also tagged you @ my latest post with 10 culinary questions!! Come over & check them out!!

  3. Thanks Tom for so beautifully expressing as only you can our love and gratitude. I read with tears as I lovingly remembered our childhood.
    Great Picture!! What a good looking group!!

  4. Tom, my heartfelt thanks to your Dad and all who have served to provide the sweet blanket of protection we enjoy each night. It is something we all take for granted. Beautifully written.

  5. Tom,
    For the past couple of years, I’ve been enjoying your blog, with its great stories and photos. Today, your beautiful words have been especially touching – I grew up in a Navy family and recently retired from the service myself. Thank you.

  6. I have always felt that the unspoken heros (heroines in this case) are military MOMS. They are shouldering the responsibility of keeping the family together at home or homes as it is often the case of having to move the family across the country numerous times as military assingnments change. Tom, as you mentioned in your beautiful address to your Dad , Mom and Veterans in general that it is really a family affair. Noone goes untouched by the sacrifice of our armed forces. Thanks Dad and MOM too!!!!!!!!!

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