Dad and I have been fighting a battle all afternoon, specifically one on the big screen. When he noticed the promo for the new movie, Midway, he insisted on going—TODAY. Being a well-read history buff, he had to make certain “they got it right,” so off we went into the wild blue yonder (I know; wrong branch of the service for this story). We settled in our seats with his popcornandcoke. It’s all one word in our house because, well, it just is when he’s watching a movie on the big screen. I gingerly reminded him why he COULD NOT share his vast wealth of information with everyone around us during the pivotal moments of the movie. Thankfully, we were surrounded by others his age who were doing the same so I decided to let that go (yes, the teacher force remains strong in me).
As the story unfolded on the big screen, it became clear why dad was so vehement about this movie. Unbeknownst to me prior to today, one of dad’s maternal uncles flew a Douglas “Devastator” torpedo bomber during this pivotal moment of Allied victory in the Pacific theater. His aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, was out on maneuvers during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, so these guys were itching to reciprocate, managing to fell three Japanese carriers and a battleship during the event. Naval code-breaking (a truly fascinating part of this victory) along with radar gave the U.S fleet a definite advantage since Japan’s Imperial Navy relied solely on human lookout before attack. Here’s your history lesson today; you’re welcome.
So why battles? What does this have to do with my gratefulness journey? On this Veteran’s Day weekend, I remain humbled and beyond grateful for the countless Americans who stepped forward to defend our freedom and preserve the founding principles of our Nation. From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, and well beyond across our planet, these patriots stood watch over America’s peace, and when necessary, carried the costs of our Nation’s wars, many giving the ultimate sacrifice in service. Courageous men and women have cleared the seas, charged the hills, and covered the skies. We must continue to uphold each Veteran’s legacy by teaching our younger generations about the role in securing the cost of liberty. And as my daddy always notes, “If we do not study history, we are doomed to repeat it; in teaching others, we teach ourselves.”
So this isn’t so much a question today but a challenge to find a way to continue the story. Beyond the emphasis of Veteran’s Day, may we always take the unexpected opportunities to remember, reflect, and revisit the service and sacrifices of our Nation’s Veterans…and here’s hoping you stop every time and take a moment to gratefully acknowledge a Veteran’s service when one crosses your path.