I started out to write simply about my two favorite veterans, but the more I thought, and looked at photos and memories, the harder and more emotional it became.
I come from a long heritage of veterans from three countries.
|My favorite veteran, M/Sgt. Vance Clark, USAF|
But he's not my favorite of course. First-born son, M/Sgt. Vance C. Clark, USAF, holds that rank. There's no way I can put in words how proud I am of him, of his patriotism and loyalty.
Stop and think about how entwined veterans lives are with this country, with our lives. I won't use the overused word "hero" to describe them, because most would decline the term. But it is appropriate to honor them today and tomorrow for what they mean to all of us, in so many ways.
|Cdr. Steve Curry, USN|
I've been blessed with many former students who were veterans. They are more mature and focused on their studies that most students. They don't gloat nor wave the flag, and in fact, if the enrollment sheet didn't specify "veteran," you wouldn't know it in most cases.
Near the top would be Commander Steve Curry, US Navy, a former student who has remained a good friend, and two years ago booked me on the USS Abe Lincoln for a Tiger Cruise. More recently there has been Andy Jensen, who shares Ray Bradbury and a love of reading and writing. There have been many more.
|Petty Officer 2 Mike Clark, Grandmother, Dad|
I know from genealogy work from Vance, Dad, and my aunt Vera "Sissie" Culp that my ancestors served in The Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War and Spanish American War. Not sure of WWI.
|CSA grave, Vicksburg|
They're in my blood.
It's little wonder that I am drawn to the POW/MIA flags, and to the veterans' gravestones in cemeteries, or my affection for wandering down the ranks of graves in national cemeteries, whether at Santa Fe, Arlington, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Fort Smith, and elsewhere.
Join me and snap a salute to your veterans, past, present, and for the future.
|First day of school duty|
|Final port of call, Santa Fe|
|Eternal duty, Vicksburg National Cemetery|