Today, the United States sets aside a time to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to the country. I suspect many of you have deep family connections that are brought to mind on this day.
It has caused me to think of my Father who passed away two and a half years ago (9/15/2012). He served in the Army in World War II and for a large part of his tour he was stationed in Alaska. The above photo was taken in his office in Anchorage where he was part of the JAG (Judge Advocates General’s Corp).
When going through Dad’s things my older brothers and I found a Purple Heart medal stuffed in the back corner of a jewelry box. A medal I did not know he had received and something we had never talked about.
If you recall, the Japanese controlled a couple strategic Aleutian Islands in 1942-43 which are part of Alaska. Thus those stationed in Alaska were considered to be in a combat zone. Apparently Dad was somehow injured (what and how is unclear) and according to the regulations, if you are hurt while in a combat zone you are eligible to earn a Purple Heart.
We also found his Army dress uniform, still in good condition after seventy years. So as part of his memorial service the family put the uniform, rank insignia (First Lieutenant), service ribbons, and his purple heart on display.
I am proud of my father’s service to our country. (His father, my grandfather, also served is the U.S. Calvary in WWI.) He played a small part in the giant effort to preserve and protect our country. But we are reminded that every piece is part of the whole. And each piece must perform with excellence.
It would be a stretch to push the metaphor into the writing world so I’ll leave that to your imagination.
In the meantime, if you are inclined, our community of writers would like to hear your stories related to you or your family’s service in the comments below. Please be respectful of this solemn occasion.
Thank you to anyone and everyone who has served. And to the families who supported them during their service. We salute you.