Today is Veteran's Day here in the U.S., which is a national holiday to acknowledge and honor those who have served in our armed forces. My family has never really been a military family. I'm not really aware of any family members who served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, or recently in Iraq or Afghanistan, except one cousin as a civilian contractor.
However, my dad served a Master Sgt. in World War II but was never shipped overseas. He spent the bulk of his military career in California as a mechanic. I think he might have been a last-minute draft pick, as he was in his early-to-mid 30s when he entered the military, which is "old" for the draft. He never really spoke much about his military career, but since he was 54 when I was born, his military service had occurred over 20 years prior to my birth. He was proud of the time he served, however, and belonged to and was active in a local veteran's group. When he died in 1986, he had something of a military burial, with an American flag being presented to my mom, and he has a veteran's marker on his grave.
Unfortunately, I don't remember that many details of his life. He passed away when I was 23 and still in graduate school. Since I was away at college for 5 years prior to his death, I wasn't home much to see him in his last years. However, one photo that I clearly remember from childhood is his black and white portrait in his Army uniform.
Thank you, all veterans, for what you have done to protect this country.
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