Saturday, November 10, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

I got sworn into the Navy on December 10, 1962; went on active duty in May 1963 and served on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA 42) for two years and then went ashore to the Navy Damage Control Training Center in Philadelphia for two years. I was released from active duty in 1967, during the Vietnam War. I took the above photo from my refueling station of Roosevelt in 1965. The ship is the USS Pratt coming along side to refuel.

I have read several posts this week about veterans (former U.S. military people) and most were aimed at paying tribute to those who died for our country in our many wars over the years. There were several who honored current military, too. The ones that pull at my heart are the home comings. Do you recall the fourth grader whose dad walks into her class on the last day of school? Boy...

However, the most poignant to me are the Navy homecomings because I experienced them first hand. I remember one time standing at the railing near the Hanger Bay after we came into Mayport. I was usually in the engine room when we came into port. That was my "sea and anchor detail" responsibility. But I would get up to watch the homecoming a few minutes later. After the ship docked sailors ran off the after brow into the arms of their loved ones. No one was on the pier for me to greet, for obvious reasons, so I was content to watch. My homecomings were always at airports.

I still get choked up when I see the scenes of returning carriers being welcomed home... mainly because it is the same almost fifty years later. Imagine in 1964 if we had video of a ship returning in would not be the same. But today it looks so similar to 1962-65: same uniforms, ship design, civilian is so similar.

Anyway, I am saying all this to express my appreciation to those who serve. They all some small way...and of course there are those who give their lives or are wounded and give up part of themselves for the rest of their life just to serve our country.

When I got out of the Navy in 1967 the military was not looked upon favorably. Vietnam was a political war and the services became pawns. The result is many vets of that era went into a mental state of seclusion and denial. I knew some that it took 20-30 years to heal. I heard their stories because I was one of them and they trusted that I would not betray them as they had been betrayed when they came home. I am glad things are different today.

Thanks for listening.

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