Remember them. Individually and collectively. The millions of young boys that signed up or were drafted and stood between America and her enemies. Some died, some were wounded, and some just served.
I was one of the latter. No combat, no war. A lot of time away from home, but it was post-Vietnam and I was a radar technician in the Marines, so while I served, I did not make anything near to the sacrifice that this day is meant to commemorate.
I know men that did, though, and I want to talk about just one of them. He joined the Army shortly after WWII, and was a young enlisted man when he made the Inchon landing in Korea. He fought the cold and the Communist Chinese. Sometime in the 1950s, he left the Army and went to college. After he got his degree, he re-entered the Army as an officer. He then served two combat tours in Vietnam.
He retired in the early 1970s, finishing his time in the Army with the 82nd Airborne. He retired to teach high school ROTC, start a Boy Scout Troop, become a Red Cross volunteer, and an active member of his church. I met him when he was in his 60s. I became an Asst. Scoutmaster when my oldest son joined Scouting.
We Scouted together for about 15 years, and he taught me as much as he taught the Scouts. He led by example, and he still does.
The years have begun to do what two wars could not. He is diminished now, struggling with old age and the accumulated injuries of a lifetime of service. But he is now, and will be for the rest of my life, one of my personal heroes. Scouting, our community, and our country, are all better places because he was here.
Semper Fidelis, Colonel Tom, this Veteran’s Day I remember you.
If a man does his best, what else is there?
— General George Patton Jr.