My family tree is full of veterans who served this great nation of ours. I can’t begin to list all of them, or even get their ranks and service times correct, since I don’t hold those records currently. My father is the genealogical guru at present for the family. Some day, I know, the torch will be passed to me, but I pray not any time soon.
My great-grandfather, Rev. John Hodge, served in the Army at Ft. Leavenworth in the 1920s (and probably the 1930s, but again, I’m not the expert on this information). I remember him as the pastor of the church I grew up in, the Easton United Methodist Church in Easton, Kansas.
Both of my paternal grandfathers served in the military. Daniel Dempsey, my father’s biological father, did, but I don’t remember what branch. I remember him as a bagpipe playing Shriner and all around musician and showman. My dad’s step-father, Ralph Andrea, served in the Army Air Corps during WWII and in the Air Force during the Korean War. He retired either as a Lt. Col. or a Col. I remember him as a fun grandpa hosting us for summer visits to St. Paul, Minnesota where he worked for 3M until he retired yet again.
My uncle (my dad’s brother) is a retired Air Force Colonel. He lives in Virginia, after a long stint in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He dabbles well in watercolors, writing and reading books I mooch, swap, trade and bargain buy for him like mini-Christmas gifts year round. One of his authorial projects include stories his dad told him of his war and military experiences. Someday, I hope to be an alpha reader for that project.
A couple of my mother’s brothers were Marines and one or two of my cousins (from among her five brothers and sisters’ offspring) also joined the military.
For many months I carpooled with a veteran of the Army, whose wife is also a veteran. Many of my fellow church members are either active and/or retired military, veterans one and all.
I even thought of joining the Air Force when I turned eighteen; my dream to be a fighter pilot. Sadly, that was impossible in 1982, since women were forbidden combat. My hat’s off to the women who blazed the trail without me.
My whole heart, my whole being thanks each and every veteran, whether I’ve met them or not. Your service is unequaled, your courage unmatched.