My father and my all my uncles served their country in the Armed Forces. Dad was in the Army, so was his brother. My mom's brothers all joined different branches with one in the Navy, one in the Air Force and another in the SeaBees (Navy mechanics) and all three served during WWII.
The Vietnam War ended my junior year in high school and we all gave a sigh of relief. No wars for us. But a close friend joined the Marines after college and made the Corps his career, retiring a little while ago at the rank of Brigadier General.
So you can see the military has been a part of my life for a long time. I wrote Services Rendered partly as a tribute to those who came home. Because, you see, I'm lucky. Everyone I know who went to war -- came home.
While other towns mark today as a day of commemoration, on May 30th, Waterloo, NY will continue its long tradition to honor those who did not return. The parade is more pomp and circumstance with little in the way of festivities. It's a solemn marking of every war, from the first that brought us independence to the latest with our soldiers overseas. There will be speeches and the laying of wreaths. We will pause to remember those who gave their lives so we can have our political squabbles and our blue and red arguments. What we should not forget, is that those colors exist peacefully along with stripes and stars of white. They didn't forget. Neither should we.
RIP all who have gone before.