Waving a Flag On the Side

I think this is the third year that I've written up a long comment about my own lack of service and Viet Nam. And every year I don't post it, because it feels like trying to join the parade when I should just be waving a flag on the side.

But this I can relate:


Dad's Dad's name is on the Memorial Bridge in town. I'm not sure what his service amounted to. He was the young manager of a major local employer, vital industry, so I wonder if he never saw combat.

My Dad's uncle on his mother's side is also named on that memorial bridge. Don't know if he saw combat, but I expect he did.

Mom's Dad caught a whiff of mustard gas on the battlefield. Not fatal, but he was reportedly never quite the same.


Dad was in the army, but never left the USA, and in fact was never far from home. He helped train pilots for the Army Air Force.

My Father-in-Law actually had an eye put out by a B-B as a child (we told you that could happen!) and so he had to work to get in the service. He taught celestial navigation down in Florida.

My uncle, later my step-Dad (that's as complicated and ugly as it sounds), was a front-line medic in Europe. Minimal training: patch 'em up, send 'em back to the real doctors. Only thing I ever heard of his service was one instance where a soldier had the skin of his head split. As he relates it, with amusement, when he got through stitching him up, there was a big leftover fold of skin. Good enough; leave the pretty-fying for the real docs.

Mom's brother Ed was young enough, he hit Europe after D-Day and didn't see a lot of combat. I've related some of his war stories on here before. After VE Day, he was one of those young boys who was preparing for the invasion of Japan. He's still around, and his great-grandchildren can thank nuclear physics for that.

Viet Nam

My brother-in-law Vince, who died last month, joined the Navy in Viet Nam. He was in "Communications." The secret kind he never could talk about.

Home or abroad, whatever branch, however much they saw of combat, all honor to our military men and women.