November 11th, a day that we as a Nation take time to recognize all who have stepped up and said “I will serve. I will sign that line and give back to my Country.” It is a time when our Nation says thank you. I could go on a completely different tangent and say the everyday should be Veterans day, because without the Veteran we have nothing that we enjoy on a daily basis. I will save that for another time on the soapbox or maybe a podcast episode.
This post is to do nothing more than to say “thank you” and I am humbled and forever grateful to each and every Veteran. Regardless if you served in combat or peace time, what you did for this country allowed us the freedom that we wake up in everyday. Obviously, I am slanted in my favorite branch (insert OOHRAH and SEMPER FI!!!!), but everyone who has worn a uniform should hold their head high and be proud of the challenge they accepted.
I come from a family that has had family members in wars doing back to the Civil War. We are a military family, just like many others. We are proud of our service and have unwavering support of our troops.
I want to spotlight two of those family members, both Sailors. One in World War II and one in Vietnam. One I never met and one that is the greatest man that I have ever known.
My Grandfather, Tom Ellis. 17 year old country boy from the hills of Tennessee, who joined the Navy and ended up in the Pacific shooting down Japanese airplanes. My Grandfather passed away before I was born. I grew up hearing stories of this epic Man’s Man.
The other Sailor I want to acknowledge is another boy that left home at 17 to join the Navy. Eventually ending up off the coast of a little island in the South China Sea. You may have heard of it, Vietnam.
This man was the epitome of a man, husband and Father. He lived his life his way and led his family by example. he never wavered in his responsibilities. He taught me to love our Country and to respect our Veterans. He raised a boy that also left home at 17 to join the Corps. He was a Sailor to the bone and proud of it. His son loves his Corps with every fiber of his body. They had multiple verbal sparring matches regarding the rivalry of the Navy and the USMC. Above all they had respect for each other and each other’s service. That Sailor is my Dad. Though he is gone, the lessons he taught me I still use everyday. Not bad for a Sailor.
The Veterans Day before he passed away, my Dad, Son and I were asked to participate in a Veterans Day television broadcast. We were asked because of the three generations. I had been interviewed the year before. I told them then that my Dad was a Vietnam Veteran and my son was on active duty in the USMC at the time. So the following year they asked all three of us. My Dad carried most of the interview. He spoke bluntly. He talked about how we are the greatest nation in the world and how he felt every young man should serve in the military.
I love you Dad. I love you Grandpa. Thank you for your service.