I just posted a story called "A Toast in an Empty Bar." It is a small tribute to those who served and died in the military.
I grew up in West Virginia. A high percentage of my high school classmates joined the military afterward. In West Virginia, it is always that way.
For some, it is a legacy. For some, it is a choice. For others, it is their only hope to leave their hometown.
I am the youngest of four brothers and the only one not to serve in the military. I am younger by many years and I had options not available to my brothers when my time came. My three older brothers served during the Vietnam War. All three made it home safely but not without the scars that the conflict left behind.
I have several nieces and nephews (and a couple of great nieces and nephews) in the armed forces. So far, each of them has survived their enlistments.
I am thankful for this fact. Just as I'm cognizant of the fact that many men and women did not make it home.
Let us never forget their sacrifice -- and let us never forget the families of those who have fallen.