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A Salute to My Favorite Veteran

A Salute to My Favorite Veteran

Captain Dad and his trusty steed (F-100) on the flightline.

I 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 have been).

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 Dad 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.

front porch buntingOn 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.

I shared this post last year, and thought the message was worth repeating.


  1. Thank you for reminding me what today was! My dad was in the Army when I was a kid, and although he was never deployed to combat, I remember every summer he’d be gone for a months or so for training. It was always such a relief when he’d come home again…always seemed like the longest month out of the year…and just like your parents, there was never any complaining…just gratitude when he’d return.

  2. Beautiful Tom…we have many to be grateful for, our Dad’s topped the list yesterday clearly, and they opened our hearts and silently pointed at those who served with them, and were waiting at home for them. Gratitude to all.

  3. Your parents look like movie stars! Thank you for your touching tributes to both of them. My father served in Europe during WWII. Unfortunately, his experiences during four major battles scarred him emotionally and physically and he left for heaven too soon.

  4. Tom – Wonderful post about your dad! We owe them a lot!

    Your board! I love how you got it just because of what it was! I recommend you do as we did with some gigantic [madrona, no less!!!] planks we got. Set it on two nice fir rounds with about 3 feet overhanging each end and use it as a bench. Looks like you would want to put a bull nose on the front part. We have ours around our fire pit on the beach. Needs to be sealed every year or two but it should love the weather otherwise!
    Enjoy those Gd’E’s on Thanksgiving! Rick

    • Rick great idea. I don’t have the beachfront, but I could easily make a fire pit for summer s’mores. Madrona is one of my favorite woods. Cheers!

  5. Tom, just read this very moving post. Living in San Clemente (a suburb of Camp Pendleton) has brought me close to several military families, something I had never experienced in Seattle. The sacrifices endured are beyond what most of America imagines. So I say to all… don’t just thank them for their service. Adopt a military family, buy them a dinner/drink, volunteer at a veterans organization, and most of all.. hire them if you have an opening.
    Thanks again for the post, wish I know your parents

  6. Thanks Laura, your words are spot on and your support for military families so appreciated by those you touch. So glad to know life is good for you and your handsome family in sunny California.

  7. I am like you AND like your dad. My mom raised me on a small farmette of a just a few acres. But enough to raise food for a family of seven. I wondered about it as her helper while my sisters slept… what a wonderful life.
    I left that land to go fly jets in the Navy. I could say so much, but I want to thank your dad for the peace I enjoyed as a child.

  8. Thank you Phil, your fond recollection put a smile on my face and your salute to my late father has surely been returned; you just have to look to the sky.


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