On Monday, April 17 my Dad, Bud Oakland, and my brother, Chuck Oakland, embarked on an adventure together. My father was selected for the Inland Northwest Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. My brother graciously agreed to travel along as his guardian to help him navigate all the war memorials that they will view in two busy days. For those of you who have had a loved one go on the Honor Flight or have gone yourself, I understand that is it a thrilling albeit exhausting two days filled with awe and emotion. I pray that my father and brother have a special time together as they experience the wonder and patriotism that will be evident throughout the memorials as well as the dinner to honor the veterans and other special surprises.
I am thankful for our veterans especially my father and my husband who both served in the Navy, different wars but both Navy men. My Dad served on the YMS360 minesweeper during World War II. Their primary job was to go ahead of the fleet to clear the way of mines that had been planted by the enemy. When you look at the pictures of the mines and read the stories of sailor’s accounts that served on a similar boat, it’s amazing that so many survived. My father shared with us his account of a typhoon that took the lives of many sailors and ships during the war. Obviously, his ship survived the typhoon for which I am thankful. Growing up, my Dad never talked much about serving in the war. I guess as a kid it really wasn’t on my radar to ask. My husband only talks about the Vietnam War as an unpopular war and when they would come back from a mission, people were rude to the sailors and spit on them. Holy cow. I can’t even imagine this type of disrespect.
I remember when I was flying a lot for my work in the software industry and would see many military traveling by commercial air. Whenever a serviceman or woman would come on the flight, I would thank them for their service. Such a small gesture on my part but their service means my freedom. Ken wears his service hat frequently and more than once people (often young people) thank him for his service. He said that sometimes it still takes him aback but he appreciates the sentiment. So many World War II veterans are leaving our midst. We lost three special members of our church this year – Jim Shepperd, Art Randall and Roy Wargi. I hope we never stop listening and reading the stories of all who have served in the armed forces. Be sure to thank our veterans when you have the chance. I know they appreciate it. We live in a great country and are free to worship and live without fear thanks to our brave men and women in the military. I salute all who have served as you read this blog. Thank you!