On this Veteran’s Day, I’m recalling my dad’s service in the Army Air Corp from about 1942 to 1945. He was trained as a tail gunner in a B-17. He spent some time in the Philippines after they were occupied by U.S. forces, but never saw any action. Had it not been for the surrender of Japan after the atomic bombs, he may have been part of the invasion of Japan, and it’s possible that I might not be writing this today.
I never served in the military. I was just turning 18 when they closed down the draft board offices in 1975, so I never even had to register. I’ve gotten to know quite a few vets, though, and have often wondered how my life might be different had I given a few years of my life to military service. What kinds of things would I have learned or experienced? It’s an impossible question to answer. The men and women I’ve talked with had such a variety of experiences, both very good and sometimes extremely bad. It can go either way.
I was a little too young to understand or be aware of the way that Vietnam vets were treated when they returned home in the 60’s and 70’s. In the past decade especially, I’ve seen each and every man and woman who has served in any capacity has been honored by so many. From the uniformed I’ve seen in airports to older retired vets, I’m just one of so many who take the time to say, “Thank you.” And of course, that’s the way I believe it should be.