Monday, May 30, 2011
Thank you for your service
Today is Memorial Day. So many people forget what today is really for. It's fine to have barbecues, picnics and the first official weekend of the summer at the beach. But today is also to remember the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom.
Like my brother, Michael reminded me just a short while ago, we must give special tribute to the soldiers of World War II. Without their sacrifice, bravery and profound sense of duty to God and country, we very well could be speaking German or Japanese now. I know for sure the citizens of France should thank their lucky stars they are still able to speak French!
My Uncle Francis Curry was a Tech Sergeant in World War II, fighting in North Africa and Europe. We just recently got documentation about when he was killed in action. His plane went down and we learned Uncle Francie and some of the others survived the crash only to be burned alive in the fire that happened after the crash. He is buried in Anzio, Italy.
Uncle Francie was the only person I knew of who gave his life for our freedom. Thankfully, my father survived as a radioman in the Navy and came home unscathed.
I have a decidedly military family. Three of my 4 brothers are retired Marines. One of my brothers served 20 years! My brother, Michael, served in Viet Nam. My brother Jimmy served in the first Gulf War. My brother, Marty somehow managed to miss every confrontation in his 20 years in the Marines. He was either in Korea or Okinawa at the time. For 3 years, he was a drill instructor at Parris Island.
My John served for 20 years in the Army with the 82nd Airborne and was involved in Grenada. His son, Mark is also with the Army's 82nd Airborne. Mark has completed 3 tours of Iraq, a stint in Haiti after the earthquake there last year and as soon as he got stateside after that, was sent to Afghanistan! He is stateside again, but still serving.
My brother-in-law, Jim served for 29 years in the Army. He did 2 tours in Viet Nam with the 101st Airborne Division. He went on to be become an Army Ranger and then a Green Beret with Special Forces. He retired in 1995 as a full Colonel.
My nephew, Steve served 9 years with the US Marines as a helicopter mechanic. Steve was part of the President's helicopter fleet. He had the honor of flying with some great dignitaries, among them Pope John Paul II. Then the Army said, "Join us and we'll let you become a pilot!' So he's been with the Army's 82nd Airborne for the past 12 years, piloting a Black Hawk helicopter! He has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and spent time in the Bahamas (aw, such a tough assignment) chasing drug runners. Steve is still serving in the Army.
Steve's sister, Marianne also served in the Army during and after college and law school in the Army Reserves! She resigned her commission when she became pregnant with her first child.
So thank a Soldier or a Sailor or an Airman or a Marine when you see them. They are willing to give their lives so we can have the freedoms we enjoy to this day. And say a prayer for their continued safely. Remember those, like my Uncle Francie, who gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedom. We are so very fortunate to live here and we have freedoms that people in countries around the world can only dream about!