Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Veterans Day

Graduation day at Officer's Training School 
I joined the Air Force in 1979 on the delayed entry program, when I was 17.  I had a friend a couple of years older who had joined and was stationed in the Phillipines as a military policeman and he made it sound amazing to be in a foreign country and experiencing life in a totally different way than we had grown up.  I was intrigued, so I stopped by the recruiter's office and after listening to him speak of far off places, I signed up.  And then I got sent to the middle of NOWHERE- Cannon AFB, New Mexico.  This was not the way I thought things would be.  I have learned though, that if you hang out somewhere long enough, you'll have fun and meet some great people.  Then the story you might have written becomes different, but maybe even a little better along the way.  I spent 11 years on active duty, and then transferred to the Air Force Guard and Reserve as I moved to different places, following a husband who was on active duty at the time.  It took 12 years and I think 7 different colleges, but I finished a degree going to school part time and raising a young family.  Then I headed off to Officer's school where I roomed with the pretty lady you see in the photo above, Patricia Murray, a former Miss California.  She is still serving in the military and has her own website where you can read more about her interesting life and sign up for her coming book, "Crown to Cockpit".

I've met many interesting people in the 21 years that I served and been quite a number of fascinating places, although I can say I missed out on the desert deployments that so many of today's soldiers are doing.  It's a bad situation for all of them- time away from family and friends in terrible living conditions, but few complain publicly.  It helps to feel appreciated.

And that is what today is all about...  appreciation for what they do, where they do it, and for all the sacrifices they make along the way.  We went to the Milwaukee Veterans Day Parade yesterday and it was great-  lots of motorcycles, marching bands, horses, candy thrown, uniforms, and veterans from every war.    The weather couldn't have been better either.  65 degrees in November in Milwaukee is almost unheard of.  There were smiles all around.  I've included a few shots from the parade so you can get your fill of patriotism.  My favorite was the dog on a motorcycle.







Harley Davidson Museum also had free admission all weekend for any veteran and their family members.  They had a special tribute to all service members including a 21 gun salute (which we didn't stay for because it would no doubt send Omar into screaming fits and holding his ears).  They featured a "Tribute Bike" owned by Vietnam veteran Lee McAndrew, that had scenes on it related to the Vietnam War.  It was one of the most amazing paint jobs I've ever seen.   Great day and so glad that so many places show their appreciation to veterans.
The Vietnam Tribute bike


A live bald eagle was on display

students practicing their rifle moves

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