This goes back to an ancestor who came to the new world in the 1730s and fought in the United Indian Wars. His son fought in the Revolutionary War.
I haven't yet found anyone who was involved in the War of 1812, but two great grandfathers were at Gettysburg (unknown to each other). Both were on the Union side. A great great uncle was in the Navy in the 1870s an apparently distinguished himself, though only an ordinary “landsman.”
An uncle was wounded in World War I; both grandparents were in World War II and my father was a Vietnam era veteran, though he spent much of his time in Europe.
Not bad for an ordinary family.
I think this shows two things:
First, the debt we owe to those whose lives were on the line, willingly or unwillingly. Their service in some tiny way helped the cause of America.
Secondly, it shows the gratitude we should show for those who are now on the line for us. Forget politics. Forget the rights and wrongs for a minute. Forget the “my country right or wrong” rhetoric. Tens of thousands of ordinary men and women are doing things for us right now so that we can sleep safely.
We can – and should – argue the rights and wrongs of specific conflicts and policies in the appropriate arena, but today we should remember those men and women and acknowledge the hardships they may be facing.
God bless you all and thank you.