Today is Veteran's Day here in the USA. It's the day we honor those who have served our country with honor and distinction. We also remember those in our armed forces who have paid the ultimate price in defending our country. There are some amazing people throughout our country's history that have stories that would curl your hair. I've written about one group in the past.
But today, I'd like to honor those a bit closer to home - those people that I know or have known. None of them are necessarily heros in the sense that we read about in books. But they have served our country and are proud of it - rightfully so. First up is my younger brother Dave Clark. Dave served as an armor officer in the US Army. He always loved model building and tanks were his specialty, so it wasn't a huge surprise that armor would be his choice. He left the army with the rank of Captain. My nephew Josh Ray is currently in the Marines and a proud marine is he. Yesterday the Corp celebrated its 245th birthday. I can't relate the tasks that Josh has been involved with because A) I don't really know them, and B) it's beyond my need to know, if you know what I mean. My dad, Van Clark, served in the US Navy during World War II and is part of that generation that we label "the greatest" - he's still alive and well at 94. At the other end of the spectrum is another nephew, Aidan Clark, Dave's oldest son who just completed basic training with the US Air Force. True, he's not really a veteran yet, but he's choosing to serve and I'm pretty dang proud to be his Uncle. My son-in-law Nick Fischer also joined the Air Force, but had a medical condition that forced him to leave, but he has a slew of brothers and cousins who currently serve in the same branch.
Those are just the people that I'm related to. There are others that I've known and been friends with who have served. My friend Mike Myrkelbach at church who was in the Navy (surface) and has some pretty fun stories. Tim Pontius, who you've heard me mention many times in this website as one of my riding buddies, was in Navy submarines and had a very interesting time of service. Ron Anderson, a former pastor at my church served 20 years as a chaplain in the Navy and retired as a Lt. Commander. Doug Achziger, another friend from church, served in the Air Force. In fact there's a whole bunch of older men at my church who have served in the military - some in combat, others not - that I'm proud to know: Don Murray, Larry Kaufman, Tom Krotzer, Harold Belcher, and more that I could list.
The point is that I'm surrounded by people who have chosen to serve their country and have done so with honor. I'd be willing to bet that you are too. As you spend the day at work, shopping, or just relaxing, take a moment and think about those in your circle of influence. Thank them, would you? Whether you realize it or not, they gave a significant amount of their lives to protect you and the country you live in.