Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!

Yesterday I had the privilege of going to Lynn Fanning Elementary school to speak to several third grade classes about the time I spent in the U.S. Navy, why I joined, and why Veteran's Day is so important. There were three of us speaking; a young second lieutenant from the U.S. Army, a WWII U.S. Marine vet, and myself, the U.S. Navy Vet.

The first thing I did was hand out pictures of me in my uniform, so they could see that I really was in the Navy! I also let them pass around my ribbons and my medals. I wished I had more carefully saved more of that stuff.

They were interested and asked some very good questions. It was a lot of fun. Listening to Mr. Mullins, the Marine vet, was lots of fun, too. He had some great stories! The kids were mostly interested in guns and shooting. I had to share with them that sailors and soldiers can do lots more jobs than just fighting! LOL!

In the end, we took a picture with the three of us and as much of the students as we could fit in the frame. It was a fun hour. The kids were absolutely great. A couple of the kids asked each one of us if we knew someone. In their minds, I guess, the military is a small club and we should know everyone in it!

The lieutenant had told them that he wore his uniform so that everyone on his "team" would know that he was on their team and wouldn't shoot him. One of the children raised his hand and asked if the lieutenant knew so-and-so. The lieutenant shook his head no. The child then said, "Well he wears that same uniform, so he's on your team." The lieutenant smiled and said, "It's a really big team!" I thought that was great!

Here's a young Legalman Second Class Petty Officer, fresh out of Justice School, serving at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. When I passed this picture around, the children kept exclaiming, "That looks like Mrs. Merkel!" (My daughter, who is one of their teachers, who is close to the age I was in the following picture!)

And here I am in the group -- the NAB Little Creek Color Guard! The elite of the elite! What fun that was -- I do miss it! Gosh, didn't we look serious????

You know, as proud as I am to have served my country, I know that there are so many, many more who's lives were given as sacrifice on my behalf and on behalf of this great country. I am truly thankful. May I always remember--and in remembering, cause others to remember--the tremendous service of others to this country.

Happy Veteran's Day!


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