Today is a big day for Veterans. Every year this time, i think about my father being the Grand Marshal of Lebanon’s Veterans Day Parade for his service in the Southwest Pacific as a Seabee in World War II.
i also think about many friends who stood in harm’s way, some of whom never made it back.
My overriding thought was well stated by my friend and shipmate. Al Pavich, a hero in his own right, both during and after active service. This morning, Al stated simply, “Thank you, Veterans; proud to have served with you.
Al and those folks i think about deserve such honor. i am a little embarrassed to be included. Oh sure, i drove ships around the ocean for more than 14 years of active service. And sure, i had a freighter blown up directly aft of my ship on the Delong pier in Qui Nhon, Vietnam. And i did a lot of support and a lot of training.
But i was doing a job i had chosen, quite frankly for financial reasons with a brand new beautiful daughter. And i loved it. If they would let me drive, i would be on a Navy ship today. I loved the camaraderie, the adventure, the ports of call, the moving every two or so years to another port (most of my moves were across the country or world).
It was service, but i don’t think of it in the same way as i think of my friend Dave Carey’s service who spent 5 1/2 years as a POW for his service, or Marty Linville who received the Silver Star for his heroic action in Vietnam, or Pete Toennies, a Navy SEAL who did a whole bunch of things i am not allowed to mention.
i am embarrassed. But proud. Serving our country is a rewarding career. It makes me feel good that i did it. i do like to think i contributed to the Navy’s mission providing support of the country’s policies at sea.
As Al so well put it: Thank you, Veterans. i am proud to have served with you.