Celebrate Veteran’s Day Today and Every Day

Phyllis People 25 Comments

This past week my dad, Oliver Norton, was given the flag that had flown over the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, and then subsequently flown in the city of Hoover. It was a family celebration as my husband, Neal, a career fireman, presented him the flag folded and neatly placed inside the triangular case. It was amazing to see my siblings, our spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren gathered to celebrate this day with them. Dad was honored as a veteran for his service in the U.S. Navy.


Dad often spoke of his days at sea and the duties they had on board. Mom was a war bride, as they were married while Dad was on leave during his first year in service in 1946. But their life together was put on hold while Dad finished his Navy service. Mom and Dad wrote letters to each other and sent photos back and forth. I am sure the days were long between correspondence, and anxiety of not knowing would crowd their thoughts. But they pressed on hoping for the day their life together would begin when he came home.


Today we honor all of the men and women who have served our country. How do you say thank you to generations of heroes who fought for our freedoms and to those who guard us daily while we go about our routines? Words fail, but overwhelming gratitude fills my heart. Thank you so much for your service. Thank you for our freedom and for protecting us. We owe you a deep debt of gratitude today and every day.

Do you have a veteran in your family? I’ve love to hear his or her story.

Comments 25

  1. I love your magazines and all the journals you have created. Your Mom and Dad are two of my most favorite people. Such a precious family you have.
    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all !

  2. My dad was in the Korean War from 1950-52. He dislikes it when people call it a “conflict,” or a “police action.” He said,”It sure looked like a war from where I was sitting!” He was only 21, and had never traveled far from his hometown in Eastern Ohio. He married my mom on a 3 week leave, so that if something happened to him, she would receive a widow’s pension from the Army. She only saw him twice more, briefly, before he shipped overseas for 2 years. Mom remained at home with her parents, finished high school, then got a job and began saving money for their future home. My dad added money to that new home account every paycheck. My dad’s bunk mate told him they weren’t going to get in trouble like some guys; they were going to stay in the barracks and write their wives daily. My dad faithfully did so & my mom still has those letters, tied w/a blue ribbon, in a fireproof box. When my brothers & I were kids, we asked my dad what he did while he was overseas. He joked and said,”I ran around Korea buying gifts for your mom!” We knew he had bought her gifts: pearls, sterling silver chopsticks, a silk scarf with her graduation portrait silkscreened on it, (he had her original picture-his personal favorite) a jacket with a map of Korea on the back, and a nice camera. It was only after we were grown that I found a small black jewelry box containing his military medals. He earned the Marksman’s Medal for being a sharpshooter. It had a Kentucky Long Rifle emblazoned on it. Another medal was for being in combat 36 continuous hours. There were other medals, each with their own particular meaning. I somberly asked my dad if he thought any of his bullets had met their mark. With his typical sense of humor, he said,” Gee I hope not. They were just as young and scared as we were.” Then he turned serious and said,”I will always be proud of my military service for our country. We did the right thing and tried to help others.” Like many veterans,my dad didn’t talk about his military service much, preferring to focus on his wife, his children,his new home, and his job,which by the way, that same bunk mate helped him get! He worked with the neighborhood dads on putting up fences around all the yards so that no one’s child wandered into the street. As he has gotten older, he has gotten more reflective of the time he served in the Army. My parents attend the Veteran’s program in their community every year-11th month, at 11 am. When the time comes for my parents to go home to our Lord, their remains will be in a National cemetery for veterans. That’s the way my fun-loving but dedicated dad wants it. May we never forget those whose military service has given us this great gift-our freedom! God bless the USA!

  3. My Mom lost her older brother in the Korean War. His remains were found and brought to the states in 2000, fifty yers after his death. To make a long story short…he is buried in Arlington Cemetery. At that time my brother was in the Air Force and the Army graciously asked him if he would like to escort his Uncle home from Hawaii. It was such a honor for him to be a part of bringing someone that we loved through the stories that were passed down to us from our Grandma, Mom, and Aunt. The ceremony at Arlington was so moving and helped give Mom closureon the loss of a brother so many years ago.

  4. Phyllis,
    What a heartwarming family celebration! I am so grateful for men just like your dad who have made such a sacrifice for all of us. They are truly the backbone of this country. My nephew served in the first Gulf War but unfortunately when he came back he had many health issues….ultimately he passed away at the age of 31. God bless all our men and women who served and are serving. Our gratefulness is unlimited! .Thanks for sharing your photo….a beautiful family!!

  5. In Canada, November 11th is called Remembrance Day…it is a solemn day where we remember and honour all those who have served and are serving our country…we wear poppies and there are ceremonies all over the country, the largest in Ottawa.
    My grandmother’s 2 brothers fought and paid the supreme sacrifice…”in Flanders fields, the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row.”

  6. My uncle in his 90’s is a WW II POW. He still drives & gets around on his own. Our family is ever proud of him for his service & his sufferings on America’s behalf.
    I also had an uncle who was in the Battle of the Bulge. These men need their stories told over & over for their bravery & self-sacrifice, but they are the most humble men I’ve known.

  7. I come from a long line of veterans! I had 8 uncles in WWII at the same time. Can you believe it? I don’t know how my grandparents coped with all of them in danger and gone from home for so long. In those days, the oldest son was spared from going to war. The military felt that he should take care of his parents in time of need, therefore, my Dad didn’t have to serve. Instead he worked at NAS Pensacola with WPA projects from building bridges, barracks, ect. Fortunately, the wonderful news is — they all returned home!! My grandmother was named “Navy Mother of the Year, 1945. I was five years old (now you know how old I am) when the handsome men in uniform came to her house to present her with red roses and a large platter which was inscribed. I often wonder where it is today. I married a USMC 2nd Lt. who flew UH1-E helicopters in Vietnam, his first tour. His second tour he flew C-130s. He was a Major at the young age of 29!! My son served as a Capt. in the USAF, he is now a Special Agent-in-Charge of Anti-Terror Task Force as a civilian. He served two six-month tours in Iraq. He met his wife in the Air Force and she rose to the rank of Lt. Col. before retiring. Now my sixteen year old grandson says he wants to be a U.S. Navy Seal!! So you see I come from a long line of military. God bless all of our veterans, young and old!!!! Happy Veterans Day.

    1. Wow that is a lineage of heroes. Thank you for sharing the stories of your family. There is a PBS special coming tonight about the Navy Seals. Your grandson will probably like it since he is interested in the Seals.

  8. I sincerely agree with you that words fail when it comes to saying thank you, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to all of the men and women who have served and are serving. My dad was in the Navy, my husband and brother were in the Army and my nephew is in the Air Force. You are right, we should celebrate Veteran’s Day today and every day. God bless them one and all.

  9. One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband (43 years ago!) was because of his love for our country. This was at a time when many were burning flags…..and some would not salute the flag…nor even stand for the “The Pledge of Allegiance” or our National Anthem. I loved that he was not afraid to stand up for what he believed.
    Today, I honor all our veterans that span through many years…..including my own dad (Korean war) and my husband (Army Reserves). Love them….Thank you.

  10. 4 generations of the “Machin” family have served in the Us Military. We represent every branch except the Marine Corps. There have been 15 men and women who have served beginning with our Dad serving in the Army during WW II and continuing now with the most recent, an 18 yr old great grandson serving in the Army. We love our country and feel strongly about our responsibility to defend her. GOD BLESS AMERICA !

    Mary Napier

  11. After delivering hand-knit hats, scarves and gloves to homeless veterans, one of the veterans said, “Please thank everyone for looking after us.” Imagine how much these men and women veterans have sacrificed while looking after us.

  12. My dear Uncle Bob (93 yrs young on November 16th) is from “The Greatest Generation” . He fought in WW 2 , Army – survived the Normandy invasion and Battle of the Bulge . He came home after the war only to return again to the next conflict – Korea .
    This courageous , gentle man is a true hero , a treasure for our family.
    He and my Aunt have been married almost 66 years and continue to have a unique zest for life – they travel the country and the world often and whenever they can! Last November , we took a cruise with them – my husband and I could barely keep up with their pace ! Their life stories could make a beautiful romantic novel .
    So , on this day , I am thankful for my Uncle Bob and all men and women who have protected us and our freedom !

  13. Let us never forget our brave men & women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. We can never thank them enough. May God bless each of them. My late father served in the Merchant Marines. I still like to look at his picture in his dress uniform. I am so proud of his service to our beloved America.

  14. What a wonderfully proud day for your family!
    Today, we don’t only mourn our lost soldiers, we thank God that they were ready to die, to give us the freedom we all have in this beautiful country!

  15. My husband, Jeff, is a veteran of the Viet Nam War. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corp after graduating from high school. He came from a family of veterans, his dad, an Army prisoner of war in WWII, and both his uncles, one an Army veteran the other served in the Navy and was in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. My brother also served in Viet Nam in the Army as an assistant to General Westmoreland. My uncles also served in the Army and Navy.
    Jeff and I were married on his R&R from Viet Nam on Thanksgiving Day in Hawaii. He had to return to war, but we wrote each other every day. He spent 13 months in Viet Nam, one of those in the hospital when he was wounded. I am very grateful for the sacrifices all of the veterans in my family made for our freedoms. Freedom is not free!

  16. My daughter got married this past Saturday, November 8. They made Veteran’s a big part of their special day. They included them in the prayers at the ceremony. They did a toast to the Veteran’s and then invited them to go first through the buffet line. They also included a special dance for the Veteran’s (Some gave all/all Gave Some). Their invitations to the wedding included the information that they would be honoring Veteran’s throughout the afternoon/evening. Because: Without their service we could not celebrate our day.

    We were told by one Veteran that he served in the Vietnam war and this was the first time he was proud to be a Veteran. I am very blessed and very proud of my daughter and son-in-law to share their special day with amazing people.

    God Bless all Veteran’s and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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