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Remembrance Day - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
Remembrance Day

This is the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month: one hundred years after the end of the Great War. Or, in modern US terms, it's Veterans' Day, a hundred years after the end of World War I.

I don't think I ever met anyone who served in World War I. I haven't looked up whether any relatives served, but I'd guess that some did. Military service was more widespread then, and going back a century reaches a lot of people in the family tree.

But the modern Veterans' Day memorializes all who served in the military. My paternal grandfather was a colonel in the Army Air Force during World War II, as a liaison to the Royal Air Force. He had medals, and never spoke of the war except to say good things about the hospitality of the British and bad things about their food. I would guess that means that he saw some terrible things that he tried not to remember.

An uncle served in the Korean War. He didn't speak of it either. I don't know whether that's because he saw things that he didn't want to remember or if he had the good fortune to stay away from the worst of it.

Quite a few of my cousins have served in the modern, all-volunteer era, mostly in the Navy.

Onegood friend of my own generation served in the Army, and saw combat in the Grenada invasion. He had more war stories than any of my relatives, maybe because the brief conflict left him with fewer terrible memories to try to forget.

My father-in-law served in the military during the Vietnam War era, but had an assignment that spared him more than the tension of being near the front line of the Cold War. His father served in the Navy during World War II, and went down with his ship off Okinawa, six days after being assigned as commanding officer of the doomed destroyer, just months before the end of the war.

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