Today is VETERANS DAY and I am going to spend this time saluting those that have defended my right to freedom. I don’t know what their ranks were or the intimate details of how many encounters with the enemy they saw but what I do know is that when the call came they answered and never questioned why me?
First, I am going to talk about my beloved AUNT JANE. She was a veteran of WWII who proudly served our country as a nurse in the Army Nurse Corps. She was the first woman from her home town of Garden City, KS to serve in the military and it is ironic that she joined the service to move away from her small town. She was fresh out of nurse’s school and right into basic training where they taught survival skills without a weapon, how to get past the chauvinistic principles surrounding women in the military, and ignored discrimination. The Army showed her the world, which was fascinating to this small town girl. She started out in Scotland but spent the duration of the war assigned to the 103rd General Hospital in England where she and her co-workers literally set the hospital up.
My aunt had so many dreams and the day she discovered the library was one of the happiest moments in her life and lived a life as a “library fiend.” She never met a book or author she did not love but romance was her first love and Harlequin was the introduction to the world of romance. Later in her life when she was no longer driving and could not get to the library to pick out her own books I started buying books for her and shipping them so she could read and share at the skilled nursing facility she was living at. It was never a burden for me, and every time a box arrived, I got a phone call, which always made my day.
There was my maternal grandfather FRED who was an active participant of WWI. No one ever spoke of this war and all I have are small memories of him but the most important was his love of my mother and that he always had time for his grand kids regardless of how little time he had.
There was my father CHARLIE who originated from Garden City, Kansas and served in the Air Corps during WWII. He spent his time in the Philippines repairing airplanes and said that when the enemy flew over the islands they became close to invisible to stay alive and serve another day. He met my mother while on leave in St. Louis, MO at a dance. No, I still do not see my parents drinking and carrying on but there are photos to prove they did.
Then there is my brother LANCE who is retired from the U.S. Army at Fort Hood, Texas. He enlisted in 1966 and did a tour of duty in Vietnam knowing what he had to face and hoping he could deal with it and fight in a war none of us knew anything about until he was there.
The other person that came into my life via marriage was my father-in-law AL. He was a ham radio operator that was in France during the bombing and stayed on the radio sending out the requested signals the entire time. He came home and served on the Emergency Response Team for our area and was an avid ham radio operator his entire life.