As I set gaze upon the Stars and Stripes that flies from my home this Memorial Day Weekend, I reflect ...
To not only those who have paid the ultimate cost to ensure OUR freedom whom I have known, but to a deeper sense of pride within. I speak of my family's legacy and tradition of service that dates back to the American Revolution, through every major conflict involving this great nation.
There was a governor of Bermuda that aided the rebellion, and a few ordinary riflemen that stared down British aggression at bayonet length to having relatives that served bravely on both sides during the war between the states. In regiments such as "Phillips Cowboys" and the Georgia 54th Vol. Infantry
Europe was no exception. My uncle was a German POW, shot down in a B-24 Liberator, for three. Grandpa sortied in a B-17. Later he served during Korea, and B-52s during Vietnam and finally retired as deputy comptroller, USAF, after having been deeply involved with SAC and "Looking Glass."
In the Pacific, my Uncle Leo, who is buried on the Island of Malta, served with the OSS and its later development.
My Uncle Pete was never the same after serving with the Marines on the ground in Southeast Asia for three tours.
My father is also a retired Naval aviator who flew off the America during the Vietnam Era, who was still serving during Operation Desert Storm as a Reservist, and was involved in the F-16 Test Pilot program.
My mother and her mother, as well, served throughout in civilian capacity.
To us, service and sacrifice to one's country, isn't just a choice. It's a duty. As once put forth by President Kennedy "Ask what may I do for my country, not what my country can do for me."
This is a legacy that I take pride in, and encourage every American to follow suit. We are not free because of presidents, or because we are always just lucky. This Memorial Day, gaze upon the long white rows in the Gardens of Stone. We are free because of them.