Thank You To Our Veterans


If you, someone in your family or someone you know served please consider sharing your/their story in the comments.


23 Comment

  • My baby brother was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in 2005. It was one of those places in the news almost every day, and while he was there Newsweek did a spread on the bloodbath that was Ramadi. It was terrifying, every day. When he was home, we found out that he had a very close call – a mortar landed directly behind him, but malfunctioned and did not go off. That’s the only reason he came home. But that kind of experience changes you.
    We were thrilled when his 2013 deployment was changed at the last minute from northern Afghanistan to a UN Peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. Still, his unit has lost three to suicide in the last five years. We need to do a much better job of keeping our word to our veterans to treat them for the visible and invisible wounds they come home with.

    • I hope your brother gets any help he might need. Suicide is going to be the lasting wound of these wars. Our system was not prepared for this. The stats are awful and heartbreaking for our big family.

    • Thank you to your brother (and your family!) for his service. We need to make some BIG changes to how veterans are treated when they get home.

  • Dan – This is a great idea. Thank you for this post and encouraging veterans and their loved ones to share their stories. Thank you PoP and thank you veterans.

  • My (brand new) husband (we got married 10/17!) served in the Air Force for 10 years, including one year-long deployment in Iraq. We met when he was stationed at Andrews.

    He also introduced me to Wreaths Across America at Arlington, which is an amazing experience. I found the grave of my uncle, who was KIA in Korea before my dad was born, and was able to lay a wreath there myself. If you haven’t participated yet, do it this year! Bring friends!

    • Congratulations, Caity! Hope you’re enjoying married life! I just married an Air Force boy on 10/3! My husband and I met while he was stationed at Bolling. Please give our thanks and well wishes to your husband. Hope he’s doing well. I assume he’s transitioned out of the military. The thought of that scares my husband and I a little (he’s been in for 10 years too), so it’s great to hear stories from other families going through the transition process. And thanks to you for your service and the Wreaths Across America suggestion, too!

  • My grandfather’s WWII service is briefly documented in the book “Battle of the Bulge” (check out Russell J. Berg on the bottom of page 255). He was very proud of his service!

  • Thankful to my military family that has come home from these wars to do amazing things, including helping other veterans who need a shoulder to lean on or a hand up.

  • Blithe

    I have several relatives who served in WWII, and even know of one relative who served in WWI. They were proud to serve their country. They were also irreparably harmed by the realities of serving in segregated units, and returning “home” to a country that did not honor them fully as soldiers or as human beings. I am so proud of them for enduring what they did as they worked with the hope of creating a better, safer, fairer world.

    • The Kojo show today has a segment on veterans who were part of segregated units and the descrimination they faced during/after the war. One of the guests is Linda Hervieux who wrote the book “Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War”

  • I Dont Get It

    IDGI Sr, after serving in the Air Force was a pilot in the Air Forces Reserves for many years. I barely remember this since I was just a wee one but he was called up during the Cuban Missile Crisis and was gone for several week (I suspect most of my memory of this, since it is in black and white was from local newspaper articles about his unit and him).

    Anyway, many, many years later at my grandmother’s birthday party he mentioned that his plane had been loaded up with paratroopers three times and was out on the runway to take off for Cuba before being told to stand down. No one had ever heard this story before! It is frightening that were that close to an event that could have led to nuclear war!

  • I served for 8 years in the United States Army. I’m currently in school using the GI Bill. Last Monday something popped up in my news feed that immediately think of my friend CR. I had met him at my first duty station. He was one of the best the Air Force had. Airborne, HALO, multiple deployments in the special operations community and an all around great guy. He had retired to his hometown and had just enrolled in his first semester of college. He was supposed to be getting married this April, and I was eagerly planning on going. He committed suicide last Sunday.

    While I don’t want to be a downer in a haply thread I do want to ask you all to do something. Skip the mindless thank you for your service platitudes and instead find a veteran you know and care about. Reach out to them. Ask them how they’re doing. Listen. Let them know they’ll never walk alone. I’ll never know why my friend made the choice he did, all I know is we can’t let this keep happening.

    • This wave of suicide (many units have lost far more warriors to suicide than to war) is what led me to start supporting Warrior Canine Connection. They train service dogs for wounded servicemen and women, but for the two years that the dog is in training, they are brought to Walter Reed and other areas and veterans with PTSD and other invisible wounds work on training them, as part of their therapy. They estimate 60 lives are touched by each dog just in those two years of training. And I love that they are looking after the whole scope of injuries coming home.
      Plus, they have a live puppy camera you can watch (and five puppies right now!) and that just makes any bad day better. I am part of the EPW (Extreme Puppy Watchers). Their motto is “We came for the puppies, we stayed for the mission.”

  • My brother was killed in an Army accident while serving overseas during a time of peace. Accidental deaths in the military are more common than one might expect and less often reported because the people are simply “accident victims” and not “war heroes”. He was 23 years old, and the nature of my brother’s death was pretty gruesome, so it’s not really the kind of conversation that anyone wants to have. He didn’t experience the fear that people who go to war experience. Instead, he experienced camaraderie, joyful, playful times with his Army buddies, a chance to see other parts of the world, jumping out of planes, and even the mundane and frustrating parts of Army life, and many other things that only military service gives you.

    His death was a complete and utter shock because our family thought he would be safer in an environment made to build young men than he would have been at home with his 20-something friends racing cars and drinking beers. To this day I cannot watch the scene in “Saving Private Ryan” where the War Dept drives up to tell Mrs. Ryan that her kids are dead. My mom got that knock on the door and my oldest brother was home at the time and witnessed the horror in receiving the death knell. The officers who pulled that duty completely screwed up and called my mom by the wrong name — so of course she started crying that they had the wrong family and that her baby boy was fine – just fine – and still alive.
    Sorry to be a big bummer. I very rarely talk about any of that, so it feels pretty good to share it in this somewhat anonymous way.
    Thanks to all who serve. Your sacrifices are greatly appreciated.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. And I am sorry your brother’s death wasn’t honored better – he still gave his life because of the military.

      • Stubs, thank you. I cried when I read your acknowledgement. I so rarely share and most people now don’t even know that I ever had another brother. For his life to be acknowledged after all these years was a sense of relief – I guess for holding it in all these years. Thank you very much for those kind and thoughtful words.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, navyyard. You and your family have endured a great sacrifice for the rest of us. We’re all better off because of your brother and the others who serve. And, please, do keep sharing if it brings relief. There’s plenty of us who would be honored and happy to listen, myself included 🙂

    • Navyard – I don’t know if you will still see this or not, but I heard a quote recently that went something like this: “No soldier ever dies whose name is still spoken.” It gave me chills. Speak his name – often and proud. He gave his life for his country the same as anyone killed in action. And his memory will never die if you speak of him.

  • My grandfather served in WWII (and was at Pearl Harbor); he played a key role in the mining of Japanese harbors to restrict commerical and military shippiing. While the program was designed to force the Japanese to surrender (and thus end the war), my grandfather was deeply affected as he felt personally responsible for the many people who died as a result of this campaign. When he came back from the war, he took my mother and her sibling out of school and the family drove across the country for five months, stopping along the way to admire gardens and other tranquil spots. He moved into academics and eventually became a gentleman farmer but his experience during the war never left him.
    Shorter story – my father served in Korea and because of that he was able to go to college on the GI bill. It’s likely college would have otherwise been out of reach. Because of that he was accepted into a summer program in Boston, and because of that he met my mother who was in the same program. And because of that…. here I am 🙂

    • I have a similar story about my father – he was drafted during Vietnam, and served there during the Tet Offensive of 1968. When he returned to Baltimore, thanks to the GI Bill, he was able to attend night school at the University of Baltimore while working at Bethlehem Steel. If it weren’t for his education, he wouldn’t have had the successful and fascinating life he went on to lead, and I certainly wouldn’t be here. He was the first in his family to go to college. I’m so grateful for his service, and wish the benefits our veterans receive today were enough to create the same kind of opportunity and stability my father was lucky enough to have.

      Thanks to all our vets for their service!

    • MPinDC — My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor too!!

  • My father served in the US Air Force for 9 years, including as a bombardier in the Korean War. He wasn’t a US Citizen when he found out his draft number was coming up and proceeded to enlist; he was able to apply for citizenship due to his service and it also made it possible for him to pay for college. He had grown up in France during World War II and it was due to the incredible service of members of the US military that my father was able to escape war torn France at age 15 to come to the US and complete high school.

  • I was in the Navy and went through SEAL training in 2005. One of the guys in our class was this kid named Alex. He was 19 at the time, which is impressive since our attrition rate was 85% and the majority of the guys who finished were in the 22-25 year old range. He volunteered for all the shitty jobs and everyone liked him, he always had a great attitude and a joke when things really sucked. He told me once that he weighed over 300 lbs in high school and got picked on by the other kids. He said because of his Persian heritage, and the recent 9/11 attacks, and because he was an easy target, he would get bullied and beaten up every day after school. So, one day he decided that if he was a Navy SEAL no one would ever be able to beat him up again. He got in shape, lost weight, enlisted out of high school and finished the most grueling Special Operations training in the world. At 19 years old.
    A year and a half later Alex was killed in a training accident just before his first deployment to Iraq. He was in a “kill house” practice close quarters combat when a bullet from an adjacent room penetrated what was thought to be a bullet-proof wall, and hit him in the only place that his body armor wasn’t covering under his armpit while he was shooting. The bullet went right through his heart and he died instantly. You can see his photo here under the name Shapoor A. Ghane:
    As a side note- if you feel compelled to donate to a military charity in honor of Veteran’s Day, the Navy SEAL foundation is a fantastic one. They provide family services, scholarships for the children of fallen SEALs, etc.
    Cheers Alex- you always made us laugh and you make Memorial Day really suck.

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