On Veterans 2014

Upon seeing this commercial, I knew I had to use it for Veterans Day. On this day, a special salute to all US military veterans.  Also, for my world-wide audience, may this create a moment for you to give thanks to the veterans who served your country.

On Honoring

Considering that events are like dominos, determining the most significant events in a century is actually difficult – but, for the effect on my life, it’s World War II. With this week marking another anniversary of D-Day Invasion, it’s good timing for this post.

It’s hard to imagine 16 million Americans serving in the Armed Forces at that time – let alone over 400,000 deaths. Then add to that the number of serving the Allies from other countries, and those too that died. Top that off with the huge effort at home. Simply wow!

The survivors became what journalist Tom Brokow called The Greatest Generation – the hard workers, respectful citizens, community leaders, and business leaders that built the success of the post-war America. We baby boomers grew up around these men, and lived a life because of them.

Personally, my dad fought in WW II as an 18 year old who left high school to serve – and he re-enlisted in the 1950s. In 2008, I took him to what would be his last reunion with his friends, and I later wrote about my weekend with the Greatest Generation, a post most of my current readers haven’t seen. (John, you will like it.)

Because WW II was such a defining moment for this country and the world, I’m amazed that the U.S. didn’t have a national monument for the effort until 2004. Then again, perhaps that is because of the humble nature of these men and those times that we didn’t understand until later.

My dad passed away several years ago at age 84, yet he never saw the National WW II Memorial – I now understand that I should have taken him. Honor Flight is an organization with a mission of taking surviving veterans to this worthy memorial in Washington – and doing so free of charge. I encourage readers to consider a donation to this cause.

When Dad passed away, a dinner group friend asked me about making a donation in his memory – and I suggested Honor Flight. Last week that friend sent me a link with an article and a video while saying, “I thought of your dad when I saw this.” Needless to say, and after two years, I was touched and cried for a variety of reason. Enjoy the video.

On a Day of Elevens

November 11, 2011 – 11/11/11 – and then we can expand this to include the 11th second of the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month of the 11th year in the century. We also know that 11 is the lowest positive number with three syllables, but I have not knowingly encountered an 11-sided polygon (which happens to called a hendecagon or undecagon).

Today is much more important than a post about elevens, and important enough to forego my normal Friday feature of Opinions in the Shorts – today is Veteran’s Day.

As I looked ahead to this day earlier in the week, I was thinking about my dad, who passed away in September 2010. As an eighteen year old, he left high school early to join the army during WW II. Obviously, he was one of the younger soldiers. Being that he would have turned 85 in a few weeks serves as a reminder that the number of surviving WW II veterans is rapidly dwindling. Besides, 2011 is the year of the passing of the last surviving WW I veteran – Frank Buckles.

We baby boomers grew up in a time with that war fresh in the minds of many. Who knows how many movies, television shows, and documentaries we watched during our youth. We didn’t live that war – yet the effects of that time. We lived a good life because of the efforts of many – and led by those who Tom Brokow called The Greatest Generation.

Although a day will come when the last WW II veteran is no longer physically with us, we have memorials throughout the land that are designed as a reminder to the living.

On this Veteran’s Day, we celebrate all veterans who served in our armed forces at any time in any war and in time of peace, but a special tip of the hat to those WW II soldiers – those who fell in combat, those who have passed on, and those who still are alive.

On Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Memorial Day is on one of those three-day weekends that all of us enjoy. Although most of us will spend much of the extra time with fun and fellowship, let us not forget to take the time to remember those who are serving, have served, and died serving.

Your time may be somber and reflective, yet it can also be joyous and uplifting. Below are two wonderful versions of the Armed Forces Melody – one by a men’s chorus and one by a pops orchestra. The late Erich Kunzel, the King of Pops and longtime conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, leads the latter. Although we miss him, his memory also lives on through his concerts on the Washington Mall. Enjoy and be proud.

Chorus

Orchestra

On Some Random Tidbits

With the recent passing of my father, a simple “Thank You” to all who thought about our family.

My father was a WW II veteran, thus had taps played at the cemetery. I heard that some military services use an electronic bugle for taps. Our trumpet player (who I’ve known since my high school days) said, “The enemy didn’t use fake bullets, so these guys don’t deserve a fake bugle.”

My dad was in WW II at age 18. Given the fact that he was 84 tells us that there aren’t many WW II veterans left. If any reader wants to make a worthwhile donation, donate to Honor Flight, a nonprofit group that takes WW II veterans to DC to see their memorial. Here’s the website, plus see the video at the end of this post.

Attending the Bearcat game against Oklahoma was a good distraction for me. Amazingly, UC not only stayed in the game, they had a chance to win late in the game. At least they made progress, but I surely hope that don’t stumble against local rival Miami Redhawks in two weeks.

Reading about the passing of NFL star George Blanda brought back memories. He signed with the Bears in 1949, yet I recall him as a QB (Houston Oilers) in the early 1960s and his 1970 season (Oakland Raiders) that had unbelievable moments. Rest in peace to the NFL’s Grand Old Man.

I hope to get back on the writing saddle soon!

Honor Flight Video