Imagine yourself in a war against an aggressive enemy that will stop at nothing to kill you and won’t bat an eye when they do. You’re pinned down in a small space unable to move forward or backward, stuck in the mud. If you crawl out of your tiny space, barely larger than yourself, your head will be blown off. What do you do?
This is how my father explained war to me. This was the situation he faced, time and again, in his few years in the military. He faced absolutely determined Japanese enemy forces that would stop at nothing, including ending their own lives, to take out even one Allied or American soldier.
It was in these times of trouble that he prayed to his God and hoped for a friend. That friend often came in the form of a plane dropping a bomb or shooting at an enemy. Those planes had come off of a carrier that was floating in the Pacific, operated by seamen. That ship came from a port somewhere in the Pacific where Coast Guard personnel guarded the safety of the vessels. My father, himself, was part of an Army tank battalion that would often come in as backup support for a bunch of exhausted and tired Marines. When those guys saw those tanks roll in, they knew they could finally relax. Just the sight of those tanks would sometimes bring tears to the eyes of desperate Marines. In that war, World War II, the Armed Forces learned to work together to save the world, and they did. They were the greatest generation because they figured out one simple face: Together we are more than the sum of our parts.
I know there are families out there that descend from the personnel that saved my dad in his little hole on a squat island in the Pacific. Those personnel weren’t always Army but often were Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marines. I want to thank those people for giving me life. If they hadn’t saved my dad, I wouldn’t be here today.
Today is a day when we celebrate the coming together of all the Armed Forces into one united front, to serve together in war, both hot and cold, and in peace. May we have more of the latter and less of the former. Either way, the Armed Forces stand as the United part in the United States of America. Happy Armed Forces Day, troops, and thanks to you and your families for everything you do for us!