Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rant #1,320: Hail to the Veterans

Today is Veterans Day.

Most of the country is off today in remembrance of these brave men and women who defend, and have defended, our country.

Me, I write about the military, but I guess the way I honor these service members is by working.

Anyway, the closest veteran to me is my father.

He was in the Marines during the Korean War in the late 1940s and early 1950s, before he met the woman who would eventually become his wife and my mother.

This was during a very interesting time in our history.

Not only were we fighting the enemy, we were fighting ourselves and the changes that were being made in our society.

The Korean War was the first war where men of all color fought side by side.

Or supposedly so, because it wasn't always 100 percent true.

Even though that was the order, it was carried out in funny ways.

My father was in a platoon where he and another man--a very ethnic Italian who appeared as if he came into the Marines directly from Rome--were the only white members of the group. My father was the Jew, this guy was the ethnic, and another one was Puerto Rican.

The rest of the group was black, so you can say this group was filled up with men who were sort of on the outside looking in.

My father tells a story about how, in the deep south, he had to go in a get food for the weary men after maneuvers, because he was the only one who would be served. He also was the lookout for bathroom breaks.

That is how it was back then; sort of integrated, sort of not.

My father was a private, and he was also a cook. He says they made him a cook because he was a butcher by trade, and they linked butchering with cooking.

My father had never cooked anything at all when he grew up, but he learned fast.

He never went to Korea. He had dual sets of papers, and spent time in the brig because they didn't know what to do with him.

He served in, among other places, Camp Lejeune and Guantanamo Bay.

He has some incredible stories about each place that have to be heard to be believed.

They are both funny, and sad.

After his two-year hitch, they wanted him to re-enlist, but he said, very politely, "No sir!" and that was that.

He went back to work as a butcher the very day that he returned to New York.

My father in law also served in the Marines during the same period, and comparing his time of service to my dad's, we have found that they were at one base at the same time--I forget which--for a few months.

Thus, it is conceivable that my father cooked for the guy that would be his future child's father in law many years later.

Kind of funky, isn't it?

My father in law actually went to Korea, and was injured in the fighting.

And my brother in law also was in the service, in the Navy. He served 16 years and has been out for many years now.

So those are my connections to veterans on Veterans Day. I am proud to have these heroes as part of my life, and I am happy that today, we respect our veterans, unlike during the Vietnam War era, where they were almost looked at as the enemy by some.

That was wrong, plain wrong. If it wasn't for their bravery, we would not have the great country that we have today.

Anyway, have a good Veterans Day, and as most of you reading this are off today, pause and think about the reason that you have off.

It is the right thing to do.


  1. My dad is a WWII vet, served in Italy. One of his best friends in the Army was my mother's cousin, who ultimately introduced my parents to each other. I guess we all have interesting stories about Vets. It's good to honor them today and every day.

  2. I agree. They did what they had to do to serve our country. They deserve all the praise we can muster for them.



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