I always hear the sound of the WW2 aircraft squadron from Van Nuys airport, flying on days like this for a airshow or possible military flyover, like at a veteran's cemetary. That was my Dads era who served in the Navy during WW2. He was an areonautical engineer having worked for
Bell Aircraft before entering the war. At Bell he worked on the Bell P-39 Aerocobra, a fighter much like the P-51 Mustangs. During the War he served stateside in Corpus Christi, Texas using his Aeronautical engineering skills for aircraft work improving aircraft handling. He told me a story of wanting to change the center of gravity on B-17's and ordered 25,000 pounds of lead, for which he was called into the CO's office, and told 25,000 pounds of gold would have been easier to get. Alloys like copper and lead were is pretty short supplies.
My Uncle Chet, my grandfathers younger half brother, served in WW2, and was stationed in Gaum during the war, I think on an airbase, working supply. I understand now why my Uncle Chet, came home to live his entire life in a very small Ohio town, content to stay there and not wonder far, probably from being so far from home. Nothing probably looked better to him, but to return to a simple life, sunday chuch, and life as a small town insurance agent.
My great Uncle Duke, my grandmothers brother, served in the Army is WW1, and all I know is he went to France, assuming he was in the trenches. Like my Uncle Chet, he returned home to life in a small -town, never to leave it again. He called Van Wert, the Capitol of the world, and going as far as France, so far away from home, was enough traveling for him.
My era was the Viet Nam era, serving in the Marine corp Air reserves. I was somehow lucky and spared never being called, and served my time working in 2 squadrons, one flying A-4 Skyhawks, and another flying OV-10 Bronco observation planes. I worked on the flight line, fueling and preflighting the A/C.
The majority of veterans serve their country in either peace time, or have non-combat jobs during times of war. But today is about those who fell in combat, and gave the ultimate sacrifice, for their country. My generation remembers many from our time who faught in Viet Nam, and gave this sacrifice. Taken at ages too close to high school age, men by age, but just boys a few days earlier. Thrust from the biggest thing to worry about was a date to the dance after the football game, into the horror of war. As old men we can still only remember them as they were, and wonder how thier fate cut their life short, and others like myself have lived full lives.
Enjoy the Freedom we can so easily take for granted, and cherish the simple things, these young souls could not do. Just a simple hot dog on the BBQ, taking the kids to the park, mowing the grass, and being content with not needing or wanting, more than my uncle's wanted after the war. A simple life! That nothing else matters compared to what they experienced during the wars. And that the simple things in life are the most important, and the freedom to do those simple things, is priceless. I guarentee those who have given their lives for us, want Americans to enjoy to the fullest our most simple of Freedoms.
Take a moment of time today, to reflect on our fallen heros, and how your life has been affected by all of them in our History.