Way Back Machine - Wartime, 1940s.
My dad's brother Murphy "Mutt" Blankenship (left) with an army buddy.... on some pacific island during World War II.
Mutt was scheduled to be discharged at the end of his service in the U.S. Army on Monday, December 8, 1941. He was present at the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served until the end of the war in 1945. He died on New Year's Day, 2001.
When I was a young boy, I thought that this was a glamorous thing... being a soldier. Especially in the Pacific Theater. Exotic islands and faraway lands... heroism and valor for a noble cause. So I was always a little bit disappointed when my Uncle Mutt would change the subject every time I would ask him about the war. I was a kid who wanted stories... he was a veteran who had experienced things that I will never be able to imagine in my life. He didn't keep silent because of modesty, as I so naively thought as a boy... he kept silent because he couldn't talk about it.
And in that silence... after all of the horrors that they endured... these veterans resumed their lives. They went back to work and continued to build this country... they raised families and tried to enjoy being alive, asking nothing in return for their sacrifices.
Across so many conflicts through the years, this has been the story of almost all of our veterans. So today, we honor and remember them... for their service and sacrifice, and for the things that they carry with them in silence.
Happy Memorial Day to all of you.