Veteran's Day 2013

Veteran's Day 2013

As Veteran's Day 2013 approaches I am most certainly grateful for the service of our fore-fathers as well as my own ancestors. Don't forget to get your poppies from your local +Veterans of Foreign Wars and listen to the stories of your remaining WW2 vets. As I was attending a function this weekend I was sitting next to an older man and we started to talk about our occupations.

He is a shorter man, but most people are shorter than me anyway, and he had a hobble to him supported by a cane that he had found in the park; it was a contractors wooden flag post since he had forgotten his at home. I asked him what the park we were at was used for during Florida's "winter" and he said they were expecting almost 200 rigs next week. "Rigs" are apparently the term for RV's and their occupants are "snow-birds"... silly me. Anyway, we began talking about how he and his wife of 45-years traveled the country after he retired until her passing and their vast RV-ing experience and his recommendations. By the way, he recommends a motor-home based on the fact that if it's raining outside you can simply back into your spot and setup later. Trailers would require you to get soaked just to setup. Again, a wealth of knowledge! After her passing he moved into the park and began work as a maintenance man there. Interesting story, but what did he retire from, you ask?

Yes, what DID he retire from? So, I asked! He was a "flyer". What did he fly? He was a gunner on the TBM Grumman. Taking into consideration his appearance, guess-timated age, flying status, and reluctance to discuss his prior occupation, I could tell this guy had something pretty-stinkin'-awesome about him. I accessed my brain's vast aviation knowledge and recalled the Grumman name and asked him when he flew. He said he was a gunner in the TBM, not TBF, Grumman during WW2. He participated in the D-Day invasion and after they liberated France his group was sent to the Pacific. He was at Iwo Jima when they bombed and shelled the island to soften it for the ensuing invasion force of Marines. Shortly after that his group got orders that they would be "heading up North" but they couldn't tell them where. Turns out he was on Okinawa shortly after we dropped "the bomb"s on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. That was all... He didn't provide much more detail than that and as a budding psychologist I could tell the recollection of events was beginning to "shake" him. I asked him if his group was aware of the horrors of the Pacific or if they were so concerned with their own war that they had no idea of the atrocities. He said the DID know and many of them were immediately "affected". I could only imagine.

Stories like this and many more are passing at a rate of 600 per day. Make sure to shake a vet's hand whether you support "war" or not and remember that freedom is not a "right". It is fought for and defended by less than 1% of the population. You can show your respect for these warriors, past and present, by supporting the various organizations that represent them when they no longer can; especially our latest generation of Wounded Warriors that suffer long-lasting and even hidden wounds. Organizations such as  +Carry TheLoad, the +Veterans of Foreign Wars, The +American Legion, +USO+American Red Cross, and #WoundedWarriorProject, just to name a few, are outstanding supporters of our Veterans. When considering a list of charitable organizations to donate to you can check them out at +Charity Navigator who rates each organization and evaluates their actual donor status.

This Veteran's Day there are several local businesses that will be demonstrating their unparalleled support by giving free meals and/or discounted services. A thorough list of these businesses can be found by clicking here. Other businesses that are supporting specific charities, such as +On The Border, have flyers that you will need to print out to receive credit.

#veteransday, #veteransday2013, #CarryTheLoad, #VFW, #RV, #snowbirds, #DDay, #IwoJima, #Marines, #USMC, #veterans, #USO, #AmericanRedCross


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