Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010- A Time To Remember

I'm a third generation American veteran.

Grandpa fought under General "Black Jack" Pershing in the Argonne Forest in 1918 after America entered the First World War.

Dad joined the Navy on May 3, 1945, less than a month after his 18th birthday. Germany surrendered while he was in boot camp, and Japan did the same while he was in San Diego, preparing for the proposed invasion of the home islands.

One uncle on my mother's side was one of the men pinned down on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, and a cousin was one of the Marines killed at Peleliu in the Pacific.

My father's brothers served in the 1950's, one in Air Force, and another in the Army- he went Korea and fought at Inchon.

In the early 1970's the Vietnam War was dragging on; I joined the Air Force, and served during the war's last years and for almost half of that decade. I never saw combat, and my overseas experience consisted of two years in the UK. I participated in a lot of war games when my unit was attached to a British Army company in NATO exercises. I liked hanging with the Brits. They knew how to do it right; they had tents for officer's, NCO's, and enlisted men's clubs that had fully functioning bars and kegs of beer on tap. No wonder the Germans couldn't beat those guys- they fought for King, country, and transportable pub.

I was one of the lucky ones. I was never in harm's way, I never had to fire a weapon in combat, I never had to kill or be killed. There are many of us who lucked out, and many who did not. I think of those who fell or came back damaged quite a bit, and of the cruelty and stupidity of war and of those who try to glorify it.

I did my job, and then returned to civilian life. But in many ways, my days in the Air Force were some of the happiest. It was probably because of the live for today attitude we had; a phone call from the CQ could be the notification to get packed, you're shipping to Southeast Asia. Some of my friends got that call; I never did

If you have a chance, thanks a vet or an active duty serviceman or woman today. It's shameful that the wars of the Middle East get so little press these days; our people deserve so much more than our apathy.

To any veteran or military member reading this.....thank you, very, very much.


HBO will be presenting the entire ten episodes of The Pacific on Veteran's Day. If you didn't see it the first time or missed episodes, be prepared for an engrossing story centered on three young Americans and their experiences in the Pacific theater during World War II.

Both The Pacific and Band of Brothers will be available ON DEMAND on HBO until November 15. For those who haven't seen "BOB", it follows "Easy Company" from D-Day to the surrender and occupation of Germany in 1944-45.

This blog has 16 entries related to THE PACIFIC, including episode comments, a book review, and other commentary. One of the most consistent queries this blog gets is "whatever happened to Leckie and Stella?".

The answer, my friends, can be found on these pages.

Happy hunting!


Sue said...

Thank you Hugh. I took off the HAPPY on my Veterans Day header picture. It is a solemn day of remembrance and a day to especially remember we have Americans in battle as we speak. They are the forgotten ones I believe, I'm ashamed of our country and our leaders who are risking the lives of our citizens for NOTHING.

TomCat said...

Happy Veterans Day, Hugh, and thank you for your service.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Guys- I appreciate your words of thanks but there really is no need to.

If you want to read an excellent blog entry regarding the meaning of November 11, not just in the United States but in Britain as well, take a look at "The Kid In The Front Row's" latest, titled The Richness of our History; My Personal Experience of Remembrance Day 2010. "The Kid" is a tremendous writer, and his blog is one of my favorite (mostly) non-political blogs. It's well worth a read.

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