Nick is my son. He’s a geek, a computer engineer. He is also a husband and the father of my two grandkids. He is always bailing me out of a computer mess. Never complains, just tells me to drop it off and fixes it. Nick is also an Air Force Veteran. He was on active duty for 4 years as an Avionics Expert. He worked on the flight control systems in the cockpit of F-15 fighters. During one of his duty stations, his mother and I got to visit him at Eglin Air Base in the panhandle of Florida. He was working in a test wing where the Air Force played around with new types of aircraft. We were allowed to visit his work place. What struck us as we entered the huge hangar was that the place was overrun by a bunch of kids!!!
19 and 20-year-old kids ! They all wore the Air Force uniform and different color web belts to designate their specialty for working on these $40 million dollar airplanes. Gloria and I looked at each other and thought…. Kids for Gods sake. Then the pilots came out for the flights and kids again. Maybe a couple of years older but still kids. As I looked with admiration at this group of fine young adults, oh and by the way there were girl kids there too working on the airplanes, I thought to myself how proud we were and how proud his grandparents would be of him and his brother and sister “kids” working for their country. His grandparents were kids once too. My father Carmen, WWII veteran, a tanker who fought in North Africa and Italy and who was wounded twice. Or Gloria’s dad, Cliff, a machine gunner with the Big Red One who won the bronze star on the beach of Normandy on that fateful June day in 1944. Or my friend Bob who was with the 101 Airborne at Firebase Rip Cord during the Viet Nam war. Or those thousands of Americans buried at the American cemetery at Normandy that I was so blessed to visit with my friend Bob a few years ago. Or two of my best friends from college who just retired as Lt. Colonels in the US Army.Or those crazy helicopter pilots that I served with in the Army Reserve. Viet Nam Vets who just loved to fly. For whatever reason they would fly over Harrisburg during our “2 weeks” training and buzz the Capitol. I went along for a few rides as observer. All I remember is they would tell me to ignore the red warning light on the instrument panel because they had everything under control. Or those “kids'” who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. All those “kids” who served and are serving so I have the privilege of getting up and going to work everyday in the greatest country in the world. They keep me and those that I love safe and secure. November 11 is Veterans Day. So thanks Nick… and Bob… and Chuck and Jerry and Steve and Joan and ……….