The armed services are a small but important part of my family history.
My Dad lied about his age to get into the Merchant Marines at the age of 16 (his younger brother, Dick, who i never met, took the exam for my father. Dick, lying about his own age got into the Navy at age 15 and remained a career Navy man. Dad was in the Pacific in the last months of WWII.
My oldest brother Larry was unable to serve because of health issues. My second oldest brother, Lance, who always seemed have lucky breaks, ended up a private in the mess, though to this day I don’t know if he was drafter of he enlisted. The night before he was to be shipped out to Viet Nam, he ended up cooking for an officer who liked his cooking so much, he took Lance to Germany with him. Lance saw no combat. My next oldest brother Lee was part of the 1969 Draft Lottery. His numbers was near the very last to be drawn. He was 20, married, and easily out of draft range when the Viet Nam was ended
My youngest sister Lisa was lost, and in a non-wartime era, feeling no direction or purpose, enlisted in the Army. She flourished there and was for a while a member of the Massachusetts Army National Honor Guard.
In large part my family always seemed to be in the right time and the right place in terms of not being called to military service. Myself, I turned 18 in the period of time when compulsory registration for the draft was suspended and was too old to be conscripted for Desert Storm.
I know how lucky I was and am. I love my my country and my life. Thank you all that served – and all of you who sacrificed. The word “hero” is thrown around a bit cavalierly – not here… not on this day.