On this Veteran's Day I am thanking God for those who gave of themselves in service to our country. Thank you seems so inadequate for all that they have done and continue to do for us.
My father was a Master Sargent in the United States Air Force for 21 years and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. I will never forget a phone call that we received in the middle of the night when I was eight years old and my sister was five. We were informed that there had been an incident involving my father's flight crew. They could give us no details and could not tell us the number of casualties or who the casualties were. I remember my mother calling our family back home to let them know and to have them to pray.
Their crew had been directed to go to Udorn, Thailand to pick up three American Prisoners of War that the Vietnamese were releasing. Due to the nature of their mission, they were instructed that they might have a possible wait of five to six hours. The crew was resting inside the plane except for my father and he was lying under the wing to cool off. He heard a gunshot and then realized that they were under enemy fire. He ran to the crew entrance door of the airplane to warn the crew that they were under attack. The airplane had been hit with a tracer and was on fire. The crew began deplaning. The firefighters arrived and began to put out the fire. The ambulance arrived to treat the wounded. The crew had to try to get to safety. All while still under enemy fire. The Flight Engineer was killed, leaving behind a wife and three little girls. An Air Policeman was killed. The Aircraft Commander was wounded. My father was unharmed. His service left a profound mark on my life. Even as a young child, I remember being so proud of him and what he did for our country. My patriotism runs deep.
My brother-in-law is a Colonel in the United States Air Force. He served in Desert Storm. My sister is also in the Air Force and will pin on Colonel in May. She served in Operation Iraqi Freedom at Balad Air Base, Iraq as the Expeditionary Aerospace Medicine Squadron Commander. My nephew just recently entered the Coast Guard. I am so proud of them.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude to them and to all the brave men and women who serve our country. Some of them have paid a mighty high price. Freedom isn't free.
Life is Good,