Adding my thanks to Veterans who gave years of their lives in service to our nation, I appreciate the variety, intensity, and danger of the various ways you have served!
Our immediate family has only a son-in-law as recent Veterans, and he serves again as a civilian employee on the base he retired from after 23 years' service. But among cousins I have/had several who served in various services, including in Vietnam and all that entails.
We also have several sons of that generation currently serving in various services, including Special Services or Forces (not being sure of the term). I don't know who they are, or where they are, and want to keep it that way for the safety of their families. We keep all servicemen and their families in our prayers both as families and members of a local church.
It also seems to me, with memories going back to the mid-1940's of local celebrations of both Veterans Day and Memorial Day honoring of Veterans, that the focus has probably been more on celebrating lives of those who didn't survive. As about an eight year old child suffering greatly from stage fright, I probably did not do justice to the poem I attempted to recite to honor my grandma Calhoon as a Gold Star Mother for the loss of my youngest uncle while flying his fighter plane in the area of Hawaii on a training flight. I think it was unknown whether it was an accident of enemy fire which crashed his plane. My grandpa C. was particularly devastated, as that late arriving, youngest 'bonus' son was the one most likely to stay on the ranch according to his sister.
All that generation is now gone from our family. She and another sister worked for the military as stenographers during part of the war and as peace was being established in Europe. When the war ended, sirens blew, and church bells rang out in all our small towns. I was asleep in the car and my grandpa had stopped it and literally ran into the Stroppel Hotel (still in business in Midland, SD) to ask if it were really true, when all those sirens and bells began sounding the news started. At age not quite five years, and very fearful of 'war talk', I was certain the war had come to my little world comprised of Midland and the Calhoon Ranch ten miles from 'town'. So when grandpa came back to the car so excited and thankful and jubilant that "the war is over!", there I was, bawling my eyes out.
The communities in western SD still have good celebrations of our military, both at Memorial Day and with a more social, less ceremonial community soup supper and time of visiting at the Am. Legion Hall on the evening of Veterans Day. I plan to be there tonight to celebrate with local Veterans.