Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Several years ago (about 5 of them to be exact), I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with a WWII Marine Corp Veteran about his service time and his time on the island of Iwo Jima and then following that his time during the occupation of Japan, Nagasaki to be exact.

This Marine, was part of the second wave on Iwo Jima and lost multiple friends and comrades on that rock in the South Pacific. He stood on the beach and watched the flag being raised at Mt. Siribachi, he explained to me, that he could not explain, the feeling that he felt that day. He told me the story of his life, a boy who grew up during the depression, a teenager who came of age during the war. A boy of 15 in 1941 who waited to do his part for Uncle Sam until he could enlist in 1944, just weeks shy of graduating from high school.

He went as part of the occupation force to Nagasaki in 1946 and 1947 and drove for the occupying general. For his efforts, the fallout from the nuclear blast caused him to be sterile. This fact was something that he would discover later in life when he and his first wife would attempt to have kids. Later even though they adopted, it would still cause a rift in his marriage and she left. This Marine went on, married another, beautiful, caring, and loving woman, who he is married to, this very moment, some 40 years later.

He doesn't live in a fancy house, or drive a fancy car, he doesn't ask anything of anyone that he wouldn't do for himself. He is retired now and makes his days pass by collecting antique pistols and growing vegetables in his garden, but he is MY hero. He is the hero of an ENTIRE generation, he and millions like him. Those who fought, those who died, those who were injured in ways we can't understand. MILLIONS of soldiers who have lived, fought, and died, for you and I. He is my hero, he is my Marine, and he is your hero too.

To him today, I dedicate this post, for the life of service to this country and a willingness to leave the glory of life, for death, to protect it.

Thank you Marine, Semper Fi.

Thank you Vets, your service is more invaluable than you will ever know.