Happy Veterans Day

By Mark

On the 11th hour of the 11th Day of the 11th month the guns fell silent across Europe marking the end of fighting in WW1.  Today we celebrate that day as Veterans Day, honoring all those who have served.  As a second generation sailor, it is sometime hard to realize that only a small percentage of the population has made the commitment and sacrifices required as part of being in the military.   

CDR Robert B. Segal, USN--My Dad

CDR Robert B. Segal, USN--My Dad

For many of our parent and grandparent’s generations almost everyone “did a hitch”, or served because of the draft. 

Bill Altman, USA--Sarah's Dad WWII

Bill Altman, USA--Sarah's Dad WWII

I got to see a lot of sea.  Some of it was very picturesque such as sunset in the Surigao straits in the Philippines.

Some of it much more industrial and less fun; as in the “joys” of living in a shipyard for months of repairs.   

Throughout my career, the one universal constant was the dedication and quality of the young men and women in the service.  Whether they were in for one tour or a full career, each and every one of them learned that there are things more important than self.  Dedication to the mission, the unit and the country were a unifying force. Whether you served in the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Army, the Air Force, or the Coast Guard be proud of what you accomplished.

Today, lots of places are offering “Free” meals or coffee to Vets all across the country.   Most of the Vets have in one way or another already paid a pretty high price through being deployed again and again.  When you thank a Vet for their service, stop and actually talk to them about what they most remember about their time in uniform.

Ens Segal, USN--1983

Ens Segal, USN--1983

Please also remember that this holiday is about those who served and made it back, while Memorial Day recognizes those who served, but whose lives have ended.

A Bit of Perspective on Veterans Day

This last weekend we ventured up the road for a little get-away.  Since it was a beautiful fall weekend and my wife had never visited, we stopped off at the Antietam battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD.  As you read last week, Roger and I had the honor of recording a fine young Sergeant being placed to his final rest in Arlington.  I was reminded of his sacrifice while on the grounds of the single worst day in American combat history-17Sept 1862.  On that single day over 23,000 soldiers were killed or wounded. Places such as the Dunker church, were turned into scenes of horror.

The Maryland monument is unique in that it honors the units from the state which fought on both sides.

The observation tower provides a view of “Bloody Lane” far different now than on that day. Bloody Lane

Finally, the lower bridge now known as “Burnside’s Bridge” crosses the peaceful waters of Antietam Creek.Burnside's Bridge

We are surrounded by the echoes of the history which has made us who we are today.  These sites should make us all think of those who came before and those who are still serving.  Each of them was willing to pay that ultimate sacrifice.