We are a very veteran-heavy family. In fact, in the course of three generations, every branch of the U.S.Armed Forces is represented save the Coast Guard. Some of them volunteered, some were drafted, some had very high ideals about patriotism while some were merely doing what they were ordered. At any rate, all of them were (and are – my little sister is still serving) ready to leave their familiar, ordered lives at the drop of a hat and – if necessary – fight, and possibly….die….in service to their country. It infinitely humbles me, because the thought of being shipped off to
some foreign land to fight for my country scares the pants off of me. I am a coward, I confess…I could not do it. And that is why I am so glad, so grateful, that there are men and women out there who are willing to make that ultimate sacrifice for me and my family.
Luckily, my immediate family members who served in Iraq, Bosnia, Vietnam, and WWII all came home safe and sound with their bodies and minds intact (if not irreversibly changed by what they had seen). They all knew fellow comrades who did not.
I’ve been doing lots of genealogy research lately, and the current quest is to locate, somewhere back in my family, a veteran of the Revolution. I am really interested in becoming a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, and am convinced there is a member of the Colonial army back there if I can only find the right records. Well, actually, I did find a great-great- twelve times back or something grandfather who helped the Colonial cause for one month! Apparently he was like 76 or something and offered guiding service or let the troops stay on his property or something. Not sure if that really counts as being a Revolutionary soldier, but it still sounds like he (and his son, an uncle not in my main line, who was a recorded soldier) was a Patriot.
It makes me think how easily those Patriots could have all been seen as Traitors if England had won the war. Traitors are generally not treated super-kindly. George Washington and all his buddies (including my grandpa a million times removed) could have easily been marched up to the gallows and today we would all be driving on the left.
I am grateful for the freedom I enjoy and for the soldiers who have died to protect it. May this nation always be worthy of the sacrifices brave men and women have made for it!