Thanks to a prompt from The Purple Moose , I'd like to pay tribute to a couple of veterans today. For a largely pacifistic family, we've had a few members serve in the U.S. armed forces over the years.
Let me first acknowledge that my very favorite uncle, Ozzie, my father's brother, served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He served active duty in Africa and Italy and came home, thank G-d, to his wife, my favorite aunt, Mary. Uncle Ozzie was a smart, sweet, gentle man, a great husband, a wonderful father. A real mensch. He passed away 9 years ago, and we all still miss him. His absence makes Aunt Mary all the more special.
My dad served in the U.S. Navy at the tail end of WWII. He did his basic training in (I forget where), but there he met a man who would become the father of a close college classmate of mine. Small world. For years, my mother kept on her dresser a black-and-white photo of my dad in his Navy uniform and sailor's cap. He was the most drop-dead handsome, barrel-chested, son-of-a-gun with a Pepsodent-white smile. I think Mom still has the photo. I must ask her for a copy. Dad hasn't been too well lately, but he's doing better.
Two of my older brothers survived the Vietnam War years without getting drafted. However, Doc Bro (son #2) enlisted in the U.S. Navy to pay for his medical school education. He was fortunate to serve time in the Mediterranean on a ship and then at the National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda Naval) for part of his residency. That was fortunate because Bethesda, MD was our hometown. Doc Bro finished his service and went into private practice medicine. He's a great bone doc; he loves it so. Works way too hard, and he knows it. My third older brother missed all the armed conflicts we've seen in the last 20+ years: too young for Vietnam and too old for the Persian Gulf War.
I have family members who have served the Israeli Defense Force with distinction. Four of my oldest brother, The Egg's, eight children were in the Israeli army. His oldest, a son, managed to weasel an exemption. NephewO just finished basic training and is now leading a tank unit. He was a fearless child, and his platoon just commended him as an excellent leader. I pray for him daily. My niece, NieceAv, did a stint with Israeli intelligence. She's beautiful and bright and will be a great lawyer one day. Her twin, NieceTl, served providing child care in national service as does another sister, NieceN. NieceTm also served, although I don't know in what capacity.
So, I salute our family's veterans and those serving active duty in the IDF. I do not approve of Bush's war in Iraq, but I support the troops. They are following orders, as defective as they may be.