My generation grew up on WWII stories. Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in the war, became a movie star by reprising his exploits on the big screen. Our neighbor, Bob Chapman, told how he hid from Nazis in a barn somewhere in Europe. We were fascinated by a helmet, Luger and other memorabilia he brought back from combat.
His son, Bill, my brother, Will, and cousin, Ted, played at war games in which they shot the imaginary enemy and sometimes fell down wounded. But they always rose to fight another day. Looking back I suppose I was the wartime correspondent, filing stories and shooting film of their battles because one of those scenes still plays in my brain as I write this.
|Bill & Will
Will and his friends came of age during the days of the draft, just in time for Vietnam. Many of them spent time in the military. As most of you know, Will didn’t survive his second tour of duty as an Army helicopter pilot.
The reality of war is far removed from little boys’ games. Yet, we need brave men and women to play those roles in the real world. My heart goes out to all the families who’ve lost loved ones to war and to those who have come home wounded in body and spirit.I don’t know what it’s like to be in combat, but I’ve known a number of the men and women who have either experienced it first hand or have trained vigorously for the eventuality. I have the greatest respect for them all.We owe these people more than most of us civilians will ever understand. They and their families have made great sacrifices while we have gone happily about our lives.
So today, I want to say thank you to the all the courageous men and women who have put yourselves on the line to ensure that the United States of America remains free and strong.
God bless you and God bless America.
Here are just a few veterans I’ve been privileged to know.
My neighbor Cissy flew Blackhawk Helicopters
Pat & Paige are still serving our country.
I’m proud to have known each and every one of you.
I salute you!
For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. Sam. 22:30