Tuesday, November 12, 2013

As always, thank you for your service and sacrifice.

A wounded American Marine is carried on stretcher improvised from a machine gun, Korea 1950 [source.]

Today is Veterans Day in the United States (known as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day in other parts of the world). Judging from FaceBook and Twitter feeds, it appears a lot of people do remember what this day-off is all about.

I'm thankful to all who sacrificed their youth and sometimes their lives so others — their countrymen or people in a far-off land — could live in freedom. That includes Korea, of course, as I am thankful to all the South Koreans and Americans and people of the sixteen other allied nations that fought under the United Nations command.

A column of American Marines marches down a canyon road dubbed "Nightmare Alley" during their retreat from Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, 1950 [source].

The last known veteran of World War I, Florence Green, died last year at the age of 110. Today there about 1 million US veterans of World War II, some in their mid- to late-eighties but mostly in their nineties. Veterans of the Korean War are about a half decade to a decade younger, but their numbers were always smaller than their WWII brothers and sisters. Vietnam War veterans range from folks in their late fifties to Baby Boomer retirees, while veterans of the Gulf War and subsequent conflicts are still in their forties and younger and will be around for quite sometime.

They have fascinating stories, and if you encounter one, buy them a cup of coffee and sit down and listen to some of them. In a relative's nursing home I frequently visit on the Mainland, I have met quite a few, including a woman who flew newly built aircraft from California to Hawaii (straight out of an AFKN commercial) and a recently deceased nonagenarian who served in the all-Japanese 442nd Infantry in Europe during World War II.

To them and all, thank you.

These British troops on the first stage of their trip to the front lines in England, 1939 [source]

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