The main story in my family for years was my Grandpa’s stories about his Navy time during WWII. He was in one of the converted aircraft carriers that were sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
According to his story, his best friend was in the radio room when one of the missiles struck the side of the ship and went through the radio room.
My grandfather was a radar operator and technician. At the time radar was a secret weapon.
My grandfather was delivering a message so he wasn’t in the radio room, but his friend was killed. They spent three days in the ocean waiting for rescue on very small rescue floats. They were not like boats because the sailors sat on the edge with their feet inside the boat. They had shark watch and would hit the sharks on the nose with paddles. They lost several people in the water from wounds and dehydration.
Both my father and I served in the US Navy. He was in at the end of the Korean War. I was in during the Gulf War and Operation Just Cause. I was also in Panama a few months after Just Cause so I have seen a war-torn country during a rebuilding.
Because of my grandpa’s stories, I have respect for all those who have fought and died for our country. I was appalled at the flag-burning in my youth and I would be appalled now with abuse of the flag. Not because I worship the flag– what an idiot idea… but because of what the flag represents– freedom. Freedom is one of the main themes of my life. I know that not everyone wants or even desires to be free. I just want to give the option to those who want it.
So thanks to those that died to make this country free from the Revolutionary War to today. Thanks.