Today, we observe Veterans Day in the United States. I remember how important this day was to my grandfather, a very proud Navy veteran, who served aboard the U.S.S. Porter (DD-356) during World War II.
My grandfather, a charismatic country boy from the deep South with a sharp tongue and ability to turn any phrase into a song, was often described as being incredibly lucky. After joining the Navy, he was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Believe it or not, the U.S.S. Porter set sail from Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1941. just two days before the surprise attack that killed approximately 2,400 people. If that’s luck, it was certainly on his side.
The crew aboard the Porter saw their share of battles, including the Battle of Santa Cruz, in which the Porter was lost. My grandfather, again with luck on his side, survived the sinking and was picked up by the U.S.S. Shaw (DD-373). Ultimately, he was mustered out in November 1942. Later, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, he bought a home in the suburbs and raised a family.
As a child, I remember being captivated by the memories my grandfather would share around the a restaurant dinner table. If accompanied by my grand-uncle, also a WWII veteran, the conversations would last long into the night, typically until the host or hostess gently nudged us out the door. Today, those stories are no more, but the memories survive.
While my grandfather numbers just one of many veterans in my family, Veterans Day was especially important to him. It was a chance for us and other Americans to honor him and others like him for their service to our country.
Today, I remember my grandfather, the other veterans in my family, and honor their service for our country.
Who are you remembering this Veterans Day?