Veterans Day Salute From Clay Miller
November 11. This day is set aside to bring honor to the men and women that have served our great nation in the Armed Forces. Armistice Day, began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The following year in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first observance of Armistice Day. It was set aside to celebrate the veterans of the 'Great War' with parades and a brief suspension of daily activities.
It was not until the administration of Dwight D Eisenhower that the name was changed to Veterans Day. It became public law on June 1, 1954. Later on in October, the President issued the very first Veterans Day Proclamation.
Today, just as I do each November11th, I am taking time to honor those men and women who all did the exact thing and raised their right hand and repeated these words.
"I, (Name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So Help me God."
I did some digging into the family history to find out all in my family had served. I start with my dad's side.
My dad, Kenneth served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and then the US Army. Served in France during the Korean Conflict. He was assigned to the 801st Engineering Battalion, rebuilding roadways after World War II.
His brother Doral was a Master Sergent in the US Army. A cook. served all over he united states and saw action in Europe during WWII. His brother Lawrence was in the US Navy. A Boiler tender, saw action in the Pacific Theater during WWII. His other brother James was a dual hatted military service member. He did almost a full career in the United States Marine Corps. Decided he wanted more and joined the United States Air Force and retired from that branch of he service.
On My mothers side, 4 of her 5 brother's served in the military. Harold served in the US Army Air Corp and was a tail gunner on a B-17. Saw action in Europe during WWII. Carroll was a US Navy Seabee. Later in the war he became a Merchant Marine serving aboard Troop Transport ships. Earl was in the United States Marine Corp and was a part of The Battle of Iwo Jima. I have listened to his stories and they still to this day, send chills up my spine about what happened there during that bloody conflict. Wayne was the last of that family to see a uniform. He joined and was in just a bit over 18 months before the war ended and he was discharged.
My brother Henry Joined the Us Navy in November of 1977 and retired in August of 2001.
He served aboard several navy ships and even served a tour with the Royal Australian Navy.
I first joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard in February of 1980. After 22 months, I wanted to see the world. So I asked and was granted a discharge from the OKARNG on December 17, 1981 and joined the US Navy the next day. I served on Destroyers, Frigates, Cruisers, Aircraft Carriers and served overseas in Spain.
I retired from active duty and was transferred to the Fleet Reserve on November30, 2001. I would do it all over again in a a heartbeat.
My wife Lisa had a few that served our great country as well. Her father Howard and his brothers Tom and John all saw action in the European Theater in WWII. All were at Normandy Beach on D-Day in June of 1944.
She also had a another Uncle John, (married to her dad's sister) was in the United States Marines in 1943, serving in the 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion Company C and fought at Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. I am sure that by more digging, I could find more and more.
Families far and near have had the heartaches of separation and the uncertainty of return. we all all seen it. All that I have mentioned above went off to conflict in one way or another. Some that went with them were not as fortunate.
This day I ask each of you to pause and reflect on the men and women who have answered the call to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserve Component or in the National Guard. Thank them if you see them today. Remember those who served long ago. Listen to their stories. Most are fading away with each passing day. Yes, just like turning the page in a great novel, the stories of WWII will be gone forever as will the Korean Conflict and Viet Nam.
And finally one more salute to my Dad - he is still helping the Vets. Even being 100% disabled, he still does as much as he can to assist those in need.
God bless each and every Veteran and their families. Not only on this day but every day.