Portions of this was posted in 2013:
Today is Veteran's Day. There were three veterans in my immediate family, my father, Glen, my son, Brendan, and my nephew, Jason. Include Kenzie's husband, Drew, in that roll call, too. I hope I don't ever get lax in my appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
The citizen army concept was most striking, perhaps during World War II, when ordinary people were going about their usual ordinary lives, then after Pearl Harbor, became soldiers, sailors, and flyers.
My Dad was a student at Monmouth College one day, grab-assing with fraternity friends, playing basketball and flirting with my future mother one day and then on his way to Columbia University to learn the art of navigation as a 90-Day Wonder in the Navy. He would be assigned to a gunboat in the Pacific around the Philippine Islands, later becoming its skipper. Gunboats didn't have fancy names like Intrepid or Enterprise. Dad's boat was just USNG 61. Bigger than a PT boat and smaller than a destroyer, they were good for patrolling coastal areas.
"This isn't very clear darling but hope you can see me alright. Three other officers and myself."
Pictures and letters had to go through a screening for approval to make sure no secrets were going to be leaked. I wanted to include the back of the picture so you can see the stamp and signature of approval. I also only picked out the pictures that had something written on the back. So, one day Glen/Herb/Phil is a Junior at college and then 4 months after signing up he is somewhere in the Pacific. 22 years old and an awful long way from hometown Seaton, Illinois.
"I don't know what was the matter here but it sure looks like my face is dirty."
"Censored but we got it!"
I'd sure like to know what this was that they got, but this is a mystery that can't be solved.
"Hello Darling, This was taken just after we got in from patrol. Salty looking group don't you think?!! I love you Baby, Phil"
Glen is front row right.
"Dick, myself, and the officer I relieved."
Dad was a lieutenant junior grade (JG), but Captain aboard the 61.
"See my boots!"
"It looks like I have a couple of black eyes in this one."
"This isn't so hot darling but I can't let you forget me. I love you."
"L to R. Communications Officer, myself and Tex."
"Please excuse the frown honey but the sun was too bright."
Here's another salute to those who left what they were doing one day and walking the wall, storming the beach, dropping the armaments, patrolling the shores of far off places. It doesn't make a difference if you were stationed in Korea, Germany in peacetime or fighting a war, these are people who gave their time, their happy civilian routines to serve for all of us. Thanks.