Every Day is Veteran's Day
I don't think enough is done to show appreciation to those who have served (and are serving) our country.
The American flags are up and government offices are closed, but some people can't remember why. It's more confusing for kids who don't understand why it's a "holiday" and they still have to go to school.
It's Veteran's Day, a day of tribute to all American veterans who served our country in both times of war and peace.
I grew up in a military family and was born at the hospital on Andrews Air Force Base (AFB), which isn't that far from Annapolis. I left Maryland when I was less than a year old and my family moved to Montgomery, AL. It's strange to think that I've ended up not far from where I started, having been so many other places in between.
My father, Robert "Bob" Yorks, went to college and joined basic ROTC. He said that, at the time, everyone who entered Penn State was obligated to take ROTC. He later passed written and physical exams in order to be accepted into the advanced ROTC program. Upon his graduation, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force (USAF). However, he wasn't 21 so it was a reserve commission.
He received orders to report to Norton AFB, which is now closed, in San Bernardino, CA. During his time there, he finally turned 21 and applied for and was granted a regular commission in the USAF.
Tours included Dayton, OH; Washington, DC (multiple times); Vietnam; Montgomery AL (where among other activities, he was a distinguished graduate of the Air War College); Brussels, Belgium; and finally Langley AFB in Hampton, VA.
Growing up, it never occurred to me that other kids didn't have parents serving in the military. It was the only way of life I knew. I have two brothers and a sister, and we were all born in different states, but graduated from the same high school in Tabb, VA.
My dad retired from the USAF with the rank of colonel. He doesn't talk a lot about his military career and his grandchildren are baffled by the thought that the easy-going man they know was a strict military man. When I asked him to recount his experiences, he summed up with "great fun was had by all."
I know it wasn't always fun and I know people with deployed family members who aren't having any fun at all with their loved ones in harm's way. I just wish that it wasn't so easy for us all to go about our lives and not remember those who are fighting for us every day, instead of just on designated days.
Today isn't just Veteran's Day, it's also my birthday. Given all of the other holidays, I'm glad to share my special day with the heroic service members who protect our country and our freedom.