"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A family of veterans

I'm not a veteran, though I came close twice. But "my people" have served in wars in the military for three nations on this continent.
  • Ancestors fought for the United States in the Revolution, probably in 1812, in the Mexican War, in the Spanish American War, maybe in WWI and definitely in WWII and Korea.
  • Ancestors fought for the Republic of Texas. 
  • And they fought for the Confederate States of America.
Sailor Mike Clark and I on the bridge of his apartment docked in Santa Fe
Three of my uncles served and survived WWII--only my favorite uncle Mike is still alive, and every time I visit him in Santa Fe I learn more stories.
I missed Vietnam by the skin of my teeth. I'd already taken the physical to be drafted, even though I was teaching high school at the time. But then we found that my wonderful wife was pregnant and I got the last-minute deferment.
I'm convinced that if that hadn't happened, I'd have been fertilizer in a rice paddy and my name would be on that Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
Instead, my draft deferment first born is now a proud career veteran in the U.S. Air Force and has seen combat duty in Iraq.
Sgt. Vance Clark escorting Katherine Emerson Clark to first day of school.
So, I salute veterans, all of them, and especially M/Sgt. Vance Conrad Clark, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Henry Clark, USN.

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