My own time in the military was during World War II and I am thankful that none of it was in a combat role. While in a division headquarters unit I was stationed with some real heroes, and though they were reluctant to tell of their experiences, I learned of what they did. Some were still suffering from what was called shell shock at the time, and I hope they were able to return to society when the war ended. Many went through battles with no apparent lasting effects, and I enjoyed sharing time with a New Jersey truck driver who knew about combat, yet he could sing all the Hoagy Carmichael songs as well as Hoagy himself. My Nebraska corn farmer buddy still maintains contact with me and he is the last of our 8th Army group, besides me. A recent visit to Natchez, Mississippi confirmed that a Vietnam pilot with my same last name is now dead.
He spent much of his time in the Hanoi Hilton. A group of Vietnam helicopter pilots, heroes all, will be gathering for a reunion in our area later this month. I feel honored that I will get to share a breakfast with them. Maybe age has caused me some concern about some of the things going on in our nation, but even so, it is still the country I love and I am grateful to those who gave so much to preserve that which is dear and precious.
As our nation honors our veterans on Nov. 11, may each of us salute them for their contribution to preserving the greatest nation that has ever existed.
Arnold Pitchford, Weatherford