As I research my family history, I am currently aware of a few for whom I've found draft cards from the first two World Wars. I love finding draft cards. To read their physical descriptions and see their signatures these men become more alive to me.
There are only two men I've know personally to serve in the World wars.
My Grandpa Jay on my father's side served in Europe. He was on the beach in Normandy on D-day. He was a translator and hit the beach in a later boat. But I have a sketch of the boats and beach a friend of his did that day as they watched the horror unfold. He passed when I was five.
My Grampy on my mother's side served in the Pacific. He worked as an x-ray tech, serving on islands like Guam and New Caledonia. He passed when I was 13.
When I think of the peril in which they lived their lives over those dangerous years, to serve their country and fight for global freedom, I get teary-eyed. Especially when I weigh in the fact that so many men and women didn't return home, families were shattered, and future hopes were destroyed,
It breaks my heart.
But, I am one of the lucky ones. Both of my grandfathers survived with all limbs intact, returned to their families and raised children, my parents. Most families cannot say the same.
So as you go about your picnics and swimming parties on this holiday, please take a moment of silence to honor those men and women, whose faces you know and those you don't, who cared enough to lay down their lives so you could enjoy this moment of freedom.