John’s father went into the navy as an officer lieutendant commander and served in WWII. He was in the North Atlantic protecting a 1000-foot supply ship that Churchill desperately needed.
There were four destroyers surrounding the supply ship to protect it from German U-boats planted off the coast of England sinking anything in sight. This was one convoy out of many. Without these supply ships, the UK would have succumbed to the Germans.
His father was on one of the destroyers. His job was to give the helmsman course direction to keep all five ships a safe distance apart. This was extremely difficult because there were, at times, 50 to 60 foot waves. Later, when his father was transferred to the Pacific arena, the destroyer he had been on was sunk by the Germans.
When my father turned 18 in 1949, he enlisted in the Air Force. He served in Korea from 1950 to 1953. When he enlisted he had been taking flying lessons as a teenager at a local airport in NJ. After school, he pumped gas at a local gas station, collected bottles and cans for cash, and found other jobs to pay for his flying lessons. He was a straight-A student at Princeton High School and a Golden Glove boxer.
Serving in Korea helped him on his path to become a commercial airline pilot. He flew for Sun Oil and then became a co-pilot for a well-known family on their private plane. In 1963, he became an Eastern Airline pilot. He retired in 1990, when the airline went out of business. Each Veteran’s Day, he places American flags on veterans’ graves.
I found this poem on-line but I couldn’t find the name of the person who penned it.
It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
VETERAN’S DAY 2016