My father served in the Navy during World War II and I am extremely proud of his service.  He didn't talk about it much but he had a couple of close calls including a Japanese torpedo striking his ship and killing a number of his friends.  Had the deadly fish struck a few feet other than it did and I wouldn't be here to write this.

I remember arguing about the Vietnam war with him a little but he didn't push me to go into the service.  A kid who was a couple years older than me who rode the same bus as I did went in right after graduation and was dead before I was senior.  That's as close as the war got to me.

I knew I needed to get off the farm, get an education, grow up a little and provide for my future so I signed up for the Army and was inducted in March of 1974.  My goal was to get some life experience, earn college money and get a bigger picture perspective of the country.  That's how it worked out.

Thanks to Uncle Sam I had my first airplane and bus rides, saw my first big cities, lived and worked with ethnic minority men and women for the first time and I received excellent training in print journalism and Radio/TV broadcasting.

I made some great friends and had both a fun and frustrating time in this man's Army.

I wouldn't trade my time in service for anything.  I am who I am today because of the experiences and opportunities the US Army provided.

Happy Veteran's Day to all the combat vets out there who faced down the unimaginable on behalf of the rest of us.  Happy Veteran's Day to all my fellow vets who played our parts and are the better for it.  And Happy Veteran's Day to all our fellow American's who make up this great nation and are worthy of the dedication and sacrifice of America's men and women in uniform.