A Day of Remembrance

My father-in-law, Charles, was a veteran. He served on the USS Hank, a destroyer escort, in the Pacific during World War II. Their duty was to help protect the larger ships of the fleet from enemy submarines and attack planes.

During the invasion of Okinawa, toward the end of the war, they took a hit from a kamikaze (suicide) aircraft. The ship suffered severe damage and several shipmates were killed.

Like many of the veterans who returned from war, he didn’t talk about his experience. Rather, to him it as just doing his duty by answering the call of his country. After the war, he went back to school, married his sweetheart Claire, raised a family and built a career with the Small Business Administration and helping others get a start in life.

On this day, I think of him, and so many others I have known over the years, who also answered the call to duty. I think of them taking time away from loved ones, often in the prime of their lives, and devoting themselves to preserving our freedom. Many found themselves in harm’s way, and some didn’t make it back home. Indeed, as Lincoln said at Gettysburg, they gave the “last full measure of their devotion” for their country.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to all of our veterans. At the least, we should never forget the sacrifices they have made. That’s why, for me, Veteran’s Day is special. It is a day of remembering, a day to honor those among us who served in the armed forces. No, this is not about glorifying war. Not at all. It is a day to be thankful that we are free, and to remember those who have paid the price in their service to keep us free.

Today, we honor our veterans.

Grace and Peace,
Mike

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