I know that technically yesterday was Veterans Day, but it’s being observed today. So this goes out as a big thanks to all our veterans, but especially my family and friends who have served.
My Grandpa Lavoi was a US Marine during WWII and he saw action on Iwo Jima. When talking about that time, he much prefers stories originating at the military base in Vallejo, CA. Especially the leave time he spent visiting his girlfriend in San Francisco (who happened to live a block away from my first SF apartment). She was a twin, and an underwear model. I’m sure memories of those times are much easier to reflect on than the battles of Iwo Jima where there were “no front lines” to speak of. I have a vivid memory from my early childhood of playing with a couple of japanese swords that he brought back with him. My Grandmother was not amused and quickly snatched them away from my cousins and I, hiding them far out of our reach. Even though my Grandpa hasn’t told me many stories from his time in the pacific, he’s told me enough. It doesn’t escape me that my family would not exist had things gone differently for him there. Thank you Grandpa.
My Grandpa Houston was a little too young for service during WWII, but that didn’t stop him from lying about his age and joining the Merchant Marines. Eventually, and through a series of events that I’m sure are very interesting, he made his way to an airbase in Germany where he served as a very young weatherman until the war came to an end. Thank you Grandpa.
My cousin Eric Shafer joined the Marines and saw action in Iraq, much to the dismay of his mother. It’s still hard for me to imagine the little boy I used to play legos with holding a gun in the desert, but I’m proud of my cousin. Over beers in Chicago a couple of years ago, he told me some pretty interesting stories of his own. I’m just glad he came home. Thank you Eric.
I’ve also got to give thanks to my friends John and Crystal Larrieu. They’re great people, and Crystal’s family is like a second family to mine. John and Crystal are Louisiana National Guard, and not only did they do tours in Iraq, they were called back to Louisiana in the aftermath of Katrina/ Rita to help as best they could. That alone deserves a huge amount of gratitude from all of us. Thanks Larrieu’s.
So a big thanks to the veterans close to me (including those I didn’t mention) and a big thanks to all our veterans, especially the ones coming back from the Middle East who definitely need and appreciate our support.