The Medl in News
in surprisingly good health, but he has never shared any stories from his time as a fighter pilot, and I’ve never asked. Sometimes these things are best left unsaid. Their time in the service certainly did leave its mark on both men. They were deeply patriotic, believing in everyone’s duty to play an active role in government and preserving the democracy they and many others of their generation fought for. Every Veterans Day, they would solemnly put a flag outside to mark the occasion and speak to the virtues of those who served. Seeing their example gave me some perspective on what it really means to honor those who have given so much for their country.
TIMES OF GRATITUDE
A Day of Thanks and Remembrance
Well, Thanksgiving is coming up, and if you’re like me, you’re trying to ensure you’ve got everything you need for the big feast. Turkey day has always been one of my favorite holidays — believe it or not, I came to enjoy it more than Christmas as a kid. There was something magical about seeing so many relatives all jammed together, enjoying one another’s company. As much as everyone laughed and talked during those family gatherings, there was always something about my father and uncle, and the bond they shared, that stuck out to me. After all, every Thanksgiving, they had already honored a different day of gratitude. My father and his brother were both in the Navy duringWorldWar II. The two had been sent to the Pacific theater, helping to fight back the Japanese empire, but they had very different roles. My father served as a lieutenant on a midsized ship, tasked with hunting down enemy submarines before they could strike. According to him, they never found any subs — and thankfully, none of them found him. My father wasn’t left entirely unscathed by the war, however. While he was on deck watching for the enemy, he stood right next to the ship’s heavy artillery with no ear protection. The rest of his life, we all had to speak up a little louder when talking to him. While my father scanned for enemies beneath the waves, my uncle took to the skies. He flew a Grumman F8F Bearcat, a carrier-based fighter plane designed to go head to head with Japanese Zeros high above the waters of the Pacific. Whether or not my uncle saw action is still unknown to me. He’s alive and
WHILE MY FATHER SCANNED FOR ENEMIES BENEATH THEWAVES, MY UNCLE TOOK TO THE SKIES.
Interestingly, my wife had a very similar perspective thanks to her grandfather. Being Ukranian and a history lover, she’s done a lot to show me the war from the Soviet perspective. Her grandfather was wounded fighting the Nazis on the frozen Eastern Front, a very different experience from the heat and surf of the Pacific. Still, the man shared the same reverence for service
and patriotism that my father and uncle had. Perhaps the bravery it takes to go out and serve your country really is something that transcends borders.
To veterans out there of every generation, thank you for your service.
– Gary L. Medlin, Esq.
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