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Sister Patricia: On Seven Quick-Takes Friday
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day Tribute

A heartfelt "Thank you" to all veterans who served our nation with dignity, pride and honor, protecting our freedoms and God-given rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. An unpayable debt of gratitude to those men and women who made the Ultimate Sacrifice in defense of our great country.

In honor of this day, I'd like to pay tribute to my family members who served our country...

...to my dad, Karl, who enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and served in the Pacific Fleet until the end of World War II. He never saw combat, but he was part of the force that occupied Guam once it was recaptured, ensuring a free flow of supplies and materiel.

...to my uncle George, his younger brother. He also served in the Navy in the Pacific Fleet as a cook. His service concluded at the end of World War II, and I regret never learning more about his experiences, as he passed away back in the 90's. To my knowledge, he was never involved in any combat. His desire to serve the country that welcomed his parents as immigrants was so great, that he lied about his age in order to enlist.

...to my Uncle Stan, my mom's younger brother. He served in the Army during World War II, in the ETO. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, where shrapnel from a grenade tore off his nose. He survived the battle and was the one of the first people to ever receive facial reconstruction via plastic surgery. He's still living, in Albuquerque, with his wife Pat.

...to my Uncle Vic, my mom's older brother. He too served in the Army in the ETO, and to this day, has never said anything about his wartime experiences. I can only imagine what horrifying things he witnessed, and I pray that he has found peace. He's still living in Rochester NY.

...and to my brother-in-law Brian, a career Army man who retired in 2000 after twenty years of service. He was deployed to Kuwait during Gulf War I - he didn't see front-line combat, but had to live through the occasional SCUD attack. Prior to that, he was stationed in South Korea for two years. Today he, my sister and their kids live in northern Virginia, where he works for a consulting firm in and around the Pentagon. By the providence of God, he was on vacation on 9/11---the plane had struck very close to his Pentagon office, and several of his friends and coworkers perished in the attack.

So to my family members, I say thank you. Your examples of dedication, sacrifice and courage are and always will be deeply appreciated. It seems insufficient to just say "thank you", so I will continue, each and every day, to never take for granted the freedoms I and my family enjoy, and to strive every day, in whatever way we can, to ensure that those freedoms are never taken away.

In commemoration of Veterans Day is the launch of a new website called Great Americans, a tribute to men and women of uniform who serve the United States. It looks pretty cool. From their site:

Our Mission

The mission of Great Americans is to tell the stories of the positive role models of our time.


We live in an era when adults watch movies about comic book characters because we’ve convinced ourselves that there are no more real heroes. And many will point out that if we search for role models who are perfect people, we won’t find any living among us.


There are no perfect people. But there are many ordinary people in America doing extraordinary things for the sake of others and our country. Great Americans is a celebration of their lives, their service, their sacrifice, and their example to us all.

GreatAmericans.com

The vision of Great Americans as a movement is to celebrate those in every area of society whose lives offer a positive example to others. As the first step in the pursuit of this vision, GreatAmericans.com is focused on the men and women who serve our nation in uniform. GreatAmericans.com seeks to tell the stories of those who put their lives at risk to protect others both at home and abroad.