Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Have you thanked a Veteran today?

Happy Veterans Day to my dad

Written by my Michael on Veterans Day 2008 in tribute to his dad.

My dad is a World War II vet. He served in Europe and was in the 813th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was wounded in Haguenau when his tank destroyer took a hit from a German Tiger Tank 88mm. He was a gunner. Being in a seated position, a piece of the shrapnel entered his leg just above his knee and came out at his hip. He survived, spent some time in a hospital. He was awarded a purple heart. Eventually he came home to marry the girl he met here in Arkansas. He went to school on the GI Bill, got a vocational degree in woodworking and later went on to start his own business.
He is a shining example of what has become known as the greatest generation. As a child I heard talk about tank destroyers and Tiger tanks (he STILL has a great appreciation and respect for this formidable tank) and M-1 Garands. He tells of how he refused the M-1 carbine when it was offered to him, preferring to keep the Garand. That rifle always seemed larger than life to me and I remember the thrill when he bought one while I was a teenager. He showed me how to work the action, load the clip and not get what he called a "Garand Thumb."
Our little family recently went near Ft. Hood, Texas where Dad had trained for the tank destroyers. I had to stop. It was almost surreal to be able to call him and tell him I was there at Ft. Hood and looking at an M10 like the one from his days of service.
He still takes pride in his service and it seldom fails to bring a strong emotional response from him when someone notices his WWII Veteran hat and stops to thank him for his service.
I think many of you baby boomers will understand when I say that even though I am nearly 50 years old, I have always felt cared for and protected by this greatest generation. They have been my heroes and in many cases, my Presidents.
I also want to say that my gratitude and respect does indeed extend to all who have served and to those who are currently serving. This gratitude and respect continues to grow as I witness the life arc of a warrior who has served his nation.
"Seek Strike Destroy"
Motto of the Tank Destroyer Battalions"
My Thankfuls-- For our military, our country, our Veterans, autumn, church, family and friends.

1 comment:

Delighted Hands said...

Thank you for this timely reminder.