We have someone in our family that has fought in every war from the Revolution except for Vietnam. Our family tree is full of stories of battles, command of regiments and battalions, unusual jobs. I can imagine the mothers, wives and daughters caring for property and finance when their men went off to war.
Some were volunteers fighting for things they sincerely believed in, others were drafted. They all seemed to travel to foreign places returning home with exotic and exciting stories to tell their children and grandchildren. Those stories were part and parcel of my childhood. Some were just information, others were fantastic tales. We were brought to believe that service to our country was proudly taken on. They were tales of camaraderie and the craziness of youth.
The things that have stuck with me is that they all saw their times of service as one of the greatest things they ever did. WWI, WWII, Korea, The Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan – these are the stories I know, the ones that I have heard first hand. The stories they tell are always about the men they were with, working as a team for a common cause. Many times that cause was just staying alive. They tell their stories with a sense of humor and I’ve often thought that it’s a way to keep the fear of those situations in check, or the telling of the stories helps them make sense of them.
This is my father. He was in the Navy from 1951 until 1954 on the USS Northampton as a boilerman. His story was one of travel to foreign lands. The war was going on in Korea but he spent his entire tour in the Atlantic – Spain, Greece, Haiti, Cuba.
Generation after generation has served. My brother is still serving.
Thanks to all servicemen and women for the sacrifices you have made and continue to make and the stories you have and share.