Monday, November 12, 2007

Remembering Our Veterans

How did you commemorate Veterans Day? Did you watch the parade downtown? Put out a flag? Remember a veteran?

Chances are, you know a vet. My family is full of former and current service members. My nephew Joe and niece Sarah are both active-duty Army; Joe’s been on one tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. My nephew David served a tour in Iraq with the National Guard. My brother-in-law Frank is active-duty National Guard; he’s also former Navy.

My Dad came to Las Vegas not long after he had done his part in the Last Good War, otherwise known as World War II. He was a Marine who went to Japan as a part of the occupation, and he rarely talked about the war. After he got out in 1946, he wound up in Los Angeles. He told me he took only one trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas without air conditioning; since he was a car salesman at the time, he made sure he had a car that traveled fast and cool. By the late 50s, he was living here.

The only things Dad had from his days as a Marine were kept in a metal ammunition box in his closet. Every once in a while, we’d look at silk Japanese flags and a handful of his black and white pictures of Japan. Now the box and the flags are mine, a direct link to a former time that fades away at the rate of 1,000 memories a day.

Holidays may lose their meaning; for many, I’m sure Veterans Day is nothing more than an extra day off. But if you think about it, it’s a holiday for people you know. You probably have a friend or family member who served. Put a face on Veterans Day, and you’ll appreciate the day more fully.
Photo information: Pictures of my dad, Walter E. Hudson, when he was a Marine, 1945-ish.

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