This is also a day we honor our heros, specifically those heros who have served in the military. I want to honor a man who is a hero of mine and his entire generation. This generation is often known as the Greatest Generation. They are the men and women who grew up during the Great Depression, saw Hitler walk all over Europe and besiege England, experienced the deadly attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the United States into WW2, and after defeating the axis powers began to rebuild Europe, Japan, and believed we could put a man on the moon.
My hero is my father, Corporal Kenneth Raymond Gillett, C-company, Recon, 661st Tank Destroyer Battallion. As is typical of many of our WW2 Vets my dad did not talk much about the war...he talked a lot about some of his friends and their antics and exploits during boot camp and while in active duty in France and Germany, but never about the war and it's skirmishes, battles, etc. Until near the end of my dad's life I never knew that his unit was part of the last couple of weeks of the Battle of the Bulge and that they marched across France to the Rhine and into Germany engaging the Germans in several skirmishes and minor battles that helped keep the Germans into retreat that lead to its eventual surrender.
My father and those of his generation that I knew did not whine and complain about how unfortunate their circumstances were during the Depression and what the government or banks should be doing for them. They did not expect the government to confiscate the wealth of those better off than they were and redistribute it. They went found whatever work they could find, grew much of what they ate, loved God and their country. When they were needed to defeat evil in Europe and the Pacific they volunteered, or when drafted they served. They stormed Normandy on D-Day knowing that many of them would not live through the day. They planted a flag atop Iwo Jima having fought a bitter battle where many of their friends and buddies were wounded and died.
My dad and his generation did all of this because they believed in our constitutional republic. They knew that freedom and liberty were not free. They knew that liberty was something that required responsiblity, duty, and sacrifice. They faced the enemy, they did not waver, they did not complain that the sacrifice was too great, they fought, they bleed, they died, and they were victorious. The world was made a better place for their service and sacrifice.
I honor them and am so proud to have been able to know so many of these men and women of the Greatest Generation. And to my father I love you and to me you are the greatest of the Great Generation. Dad I salute you!