Today is Veteran’s Day. It is so much more than a day off school and a day without mail delivery. For those of you that did not know its history, in 1918, WWI ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. An armistice was signed declaring that the war to end all wars was over. The following year on that day, the US celebrated Armistice Day in memory of all the men and women involved in WWI. Twenty years later, it became a federal holiday. Sadly, WWI was not the war to end all wars, so the holiday was renamed Veteran’s Day to honor those involved in other wars as well.

As you know, I have been researching my family’s genealogy for years. I recently found out that I have ancestors – my 3X great grandfathers – who fought on both sides of the Civil War. How cool to be a part of that history. Right or wrong, these men fought for what they believed in. They wanted to keep their way of life for themselves and for their future generations. They were both teenagers when they joined the military – not much different than the men and women joining today.

I am proud to say that I come from a long line of men who have served in the armed forces. In addition to my Civil War relatives, both my grandfathers were in WWII. My father and his brother were part of the Vietnam War and my cousin has just returned from his 3rd tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wanted my kids to know more about their involvement, so I called my dad yesterday to get more details.

My paternal grandfather was a cook in the Army, serving in Europe and Africa. He saw some battle as well and earned the Bronze star. My maternal grandfather was stationed in Colorado as part of a training mission. He drove trucks pulling artillery along mountain ridges and prepared men for the war overseas. My dad’s brother flew helicopters in Vietnam and was part of a medical evacuation unit.

My father served in the Army during the Vietnam War. His older brother was serving overseas, so the Army kept my dad stateside until his brother’s return. However, due to a clerical error, my father never went to Vietnam. He was originally scheduled to leave in December of 1969. I was born the following month. Not going to Vietnam is something he told me he regrets. My dad spent most of his service time as the SIC in the printing section, printing PSYOPS. My dad tends to talk in Army acronyms. It means he was the Sargent in charge and printed psychological propaganda.

I am very proud of these veteran’s in my life. None of these men were drafted – they all voluntarily signed up. They stepped up to protect what they believe in. Their time in the military affected the rest of their lives. My grandfather who was a cook in the Army went on to own several restaurants during his life and was able to send his kids to private schools. My grandfather that drove trucks went on to be a union Teamster, affording his family a comfortable life and a house he built with his own hands. My uncle stayed in the military for 30 years as part of the Colorado National Guard. He was a part of the rescue of the Big Thompson River flood and flew for United Airlines. My dad took his training in the printing section and turned it into a successful printing company that he and my mom started in our basement.

These men all made sacrifices, left their families and put their lives on the line. If you asked any of them, I am sure they would all do it again. Thank you veterans, for the freedoms we often take for granted. God Bless you!