It’s Fleet Week in New York and there are thousands of young sailors and Marines walking the streets, taking it the sights and generally enjoying themselves. I wish I could stop each one and thank them for their service but I don’t; I tell myself they don’t want to be bothered while they’re out having fun with their pals and I hope it isn’t just a rationalization.
I read this morning that the amount of time the
networks now devote to the war in Iraq is 4 minutes per week. Unbelievable.
I’d like to use this space today to acknowledge my family members who have served their country. Air Force Maj. Josh Olsen, a cousin, is the only person I know personally on active duty at the moment. He’s in the country now, but has flown numerous air refueling missions in the Middle East as a KC-135 pilot.
My brother Doug (Navy) is a Viet Nam era vet, and brother Jack (Air Force) served in peacetime Japan.
My wife’s uncle Harry Bosyk died flying a B-17 in Europe in WWII, and her father Bill, trained pilots in that war.
My mother’s brother, Ellsworth McGuire, couldn’t wait to get into that fight. He went to Canada in 1940 and joined the RCAF. As a pilot flying missions over the China-Burma “hump” his plane went down and was never found.
My dad, Jack Blank, was 19 when he joined the navy in 1943. He became a medic and was assigned to the Marines where he was a battlefield corpsman attending the wounded. He participated in the landings at Okinawa and Iwo Jima, the latter probably the most horrific battle of the war. He saw the flag raising on Mt. Surabachi, spent two years in the Pacific, endured numerous kamikaze attacks, and was on board his ship in Tokyo Bay to witness the Japanese surrender aboard the Missouri. He never said much about the war. A famous family story has a couple of my brothers watching John Wayne in The Sands of Iwo Jima in front of the family television many years ago. Dad walked through the room, watched a couple minutes of the movie, and walked out mumbling, “John Wayne doesn’t know shit about Iwo Jima.”
Thank you all.