My dad's uncle (August) fought with Patton's army in the Battle of the Bulge. My dad's dad was more valuable to the war effort stateside as a civil engineer. Illness kept my maternal grandfather from serving in the second world war. My nephew is currently serving in the United States Navy in Sicily. He'll be coming home for Thanksgiving.
A couple of years ago while surfing the 'Net, I stumbled upon the name Otto Schoenian. Otto fought with the Pennsylvania infantry during the American Civil War. It was a surprise to come across his name because we thought the first Schoenians arrived in the U.S. during the late 1800's. There still aren't many Schoenians in the U.S. Perhaps, Otto is kin to all of us. Good thing he didn't get shot by the rebels!
Before marrying my dad, my mom worked for the U.S. Navy in Washington DC. She met many important military men, but her claim to fame was when she accidently knocked down the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. He was taking his morning stroll, and she was late for work, in pursuit of a bus. She's disappointed that the episode is not mentioned in David McCullough's best-selling biography of Truman.
When I was in my mid-20's, I considered joining the Army National Guard in Salisbury, MD. They were a transportation unit, but I was more interested in medical or intelligence. I took the test (did well), but eventually decided against enlisting. Sometimes, I regret my decision. Now I'm too old.
I am thankful to the many men and women who have given their lives to preserve our freedoms and our way of life. I am thankful to all those who have served our country, many seriously injured, when called upon. I am thankful to the men and women who continue to fight for our freedoms in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places we probably don't even know about. My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones. I am sad for the many more who will die or be seriously injured when they are called upon to defend our nation.
Recently, someone sent me an e-mail that truly touched me. It said that only two people were willing to die for us. Jesus died for our sins and the American soldier dies for our freedoms.