Remembering Our Veterans & Active Duty Military - Memorial Day 2016
|"Greater love has no one than this:|
to lay down one's life for one's friends". John 15:13
Most of us know a veteran: a son, a daughter, a spouse, a parent, a friend, a lover, a neighbor, etc. As for me, I must have inherited "a military gene." My birth father, Harvey Stewart, enlisted in the Army from Ohio and served in WWII. As an infantryman he received the Silver Star in the Battle of the Bulge and then fought in the Korean War. My father (dad), Wayne Smith, dropped out of high school to enlist in the Army from Illinois "to fight" in WWII. He was assigned to an engineering unit in the Army Air Corps. He was one of the youngest in his unit and was in several military "campaigns" in the South Pacific.
Both returned to different lives. Harvey Stewart, like many veterans, never fully recovered from the effects of the memories of war. However, Wayne Smith returned, married, and in a few years adopted me as their first son. Dad never shared about the trauma of war until after I entered the service. But, he did instill in me a love and respect for America. On Memorial Day, we attended parades (when community parades were fashionable), we visited the graves of veterans, and he shared about his war buddies. He loved sharing about the welcome of the Filipino people when the Philippine Islands were liberated.
By the time I graduated form high school, the Vietnam War was raging. At 19 and newly married, I received my invite (draft notice) and opted to voluntarily enlist in the Air Force. Little did I know that it would become 22 year career (enlisted for 5 1/2 years; an officer for 16 1/2 years). My bond with my father became closer, and dad shared with me his experiences previously reserved to be shared with fellow comrades-in-arms.
While I wish that the world was different, it is not. I would that no man or woman would need to serve in the military. But I am very proud of those that do! In saying this, I was blessed to have experienced the continued military bond with my son, Brian Smith, who served as an Air Force officer and who now works in a civilian position helping to protect America.
Memorial Day remains for me a special day remembering! Dad has now joined his comrades and rests in peace. My day will come quick enough. Until then, my duty is to remember those who served faithfully, to remember those who serve presently, to remember my oath as an officer to defend the Constitution, and to remember to stand for liberty and justice and against tyranny.
God bless America, its veterans and those who presently serve and protect it!
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