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My Hero

Who is my hero and what makes me proud of them?Well this is hard for me to say just one,my dad was a vietnam vet proud because he was doing what he thought was right even though nobody agreed with vietnam he would have done it all over again to this day if he were still with us.He had received the purple heart.My grandpa served in worldwar II.Then there is my boyfriend, friends, family, and even people i don't know that are my heroes as well. I say this because they do something remarkable and couragious. They took an oath to protect our country against domestic and foreign threats,they are fighting for our freedom,they leave families and friends behind and i can't even imagine what that is like.Every one that is mentioned is my hero and even the people i don't know that fight for this country i am very proud.They sacrifice so much so we can continue to have our freedom and some of them pay the ultimate price with their lives. I for one appreciate everything every one of our service members do,whether they are vets or current especially the ones that sacrificed their lives. i would like to say Thank you, God Bless,and I am very proud of you all.I am proud to be an american and am proud of our military for fighting for my freedom.

tiffany miller
Cheyenne, WY

My son is my hero.

My son is my hero. He was twelve years old when we were hit on 9/11 he wrote a note and put it on his bedroom door I'll fight for freedom 11 years later that is exactly what he did he joined the army. As his mother I didn't want him to join the military because I wanted him to be safe and when i asked him why he wanted to fight he said someone has to. My son is amazing!

Anonymous
Commerce, MI

Just doing there job.

Every name on "the wall" are my heroes. It's hard enough to pick one, so all 58,000 plus deserve this distinction. May they all rest in peace. All gave some, some gave all. "Ten hut,hand salute,taps".

Anonymous
Ft lauderdale, FL

Age is just a Number

I served in the national guard and deployed to Iraq in 2004. Among the men and women I served with was an older man. He was my assistant squad leader but had to move into the role 9 squad leader several times that year. As a young man he was a marine and struggled with alcohol addiction. He finally chose his family and spent the rest of his life worth something. He wasn't sure he could retire because of the age requirements but time and time again he signed waivers to stay in. In the end he was able to retire.

While deployed we lost one of our brothers on a convoy. It was hard on everyone. Throughout the remainder of the year we would all have conversations of that day but non compared to our conversation. With tears in his eyes, which would be the first I ever saw from him, he told me how he loved all of us 'young-ins' and how he wished he protect us from witnessing what we were there to do. He went on to tell me how me how I need to be the best and do the best in everything that I do.

He and I rode in many convoys together that year. I quickly found out the Sgt. Cox was a true hero to me. His service to not only our country but to each man and/or woman he served with is remembered by an entire community of veterans. Happy Retirement old man, you deserve it!

Roland Sevigny
Norman, OK

No Honorary Discharge For A Hero

My brother, was deployed to Iraq, when he got home he was pretty messed up with PTSD. His eyes were sunk in and he always looked sad. He eventualy started telling us stories, sad stories about the conditions of the towns and the poverty of the people. He was also very effected by the fact that everyone was armed and they had no idea who was a friendly or who was an enemy. He, like so many others had life changing and terrifying experiences from war.

He started feeling tired all the time and was not able to complete his PT exam and was discharged from the National Guard. He had been going to the VA with his concernes about fatigue and they were doing tests to find out what was wrong. After he was discharged one of the tests came back that showed he had Hodgkins Lymphoma. This is why he couldn't pass his PT exam, he had CANCER. He went through 6 months of chemo therapy and several weeks of radiation therapy and his cancer is now in remission.

He has 2 children 9 & 6, his wife has rheumatoid arthuritis and can't work anymore, she can't pick up her kids anymore because of the disfiguration in her hands and wrists. My brother joined the military to take care of his family, so they would have insurance and she could get the medicine she needed while waiting the 24 months to get medicare. Now he can't work because of his PTSD and he is still recovering from the intense chemo and radiation therapies.

They are doing ok now, she is on medicare and he is recieving some VA benefits. Thank goodness he had taken those tests before he was discharged. My brother deserves an honorary discharge, he is a hero. Why does our military not take care of these men and women who risk their lives for our comforts and freedoms? My Brother was one of the best mechanics I know, now he has panick attacks when breathing engine fumes. Where will he work now?

Tracie Burkhart-Perin
Weiser, ID

Meeting again, like strangers...

I served in the US Navy for 18 long years. I see families rejoice, happy greetings on the pier, I didn't get to enjoy that very often serving on 4 different ships and 5 deployments. But that would resonate the most in 1997, aboard the USS JFK (CV-67), returning to Mayport, Fl after my last deployment. I was a rough one, let me tell ya. My wife asked me for a divorce after receiving a 'Dear John' phone call in Spain. We pulled in on a late October day. Once again families rejoicing, but no one for me, or so I thought. I step off the quarter deck and and head towards my car in the parking lot. Then I hear a familiar, but to me - not so friendly voice, call my name in a foreign accent. I cringe, turn and to my delight and surprise was my Daughter, standing in front of her Mother. She's trying to smile, as I was, but we were both in shock and confused on what to do next. See, the last time I saw my Daughter, was when she was 3 and her mother took me in for child support. She was there all dolled up, in a pretty dress, bow in her hair. Now, on the pier, my Daughter was now 11 years old. Both strangers to one another, but thank God she broke the ice with a warm hug. It would be the beginning of many more years of in the making, finally getting to know each other well enough for her to call me... Dad! Recently I took a trip back to JAX, Fl for her 28th B-day. She has her own house and two cats! I'm very proud of her and we get along very well now...

Charles R. Fatur
Los Angeles, CA

my quiet dad

Dad was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.Knocked out in a fox hole.When they found him,both legs werebfrozen below the knees.Six months in England,then home. Nerve damage in his feet the rest of his life. He came home,raised three boys.Never spoke or complained about anything. Only time he ever talked about it was when we were watching Saving Private Ryan/ He said they got it right. Iasked what. He said the sound of bullets hitting the frozen trees! sgt George Aird my dad died last year at 94. Thanks dad I love you

ron aird
woodinville, WA

Before Vietnam

Not every story is glory or grief. Sometimes they're just funny.

So here I was, seaman apprentice aboard the USS Blue Ridge, one of the original crew as the ship was still being built in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Had to be careful where you stepped, might be an unfinished deck and it's a long way down if you're not paying attention.

One day I was in the Air Ops compartment when a phone rang, so I answered it with "Hello?"

On the other end was none other than Captain Kent J Carrol, commanding officer. He barked, "This is how you answer a phone, sailor? Who is this?"

I said, "You mean you don't know who this is, sir?"

He actually said "No!"

So I actually said "Good!" Hung up and ran my ass off out of there as fast as I could!

Captain Carrol commanded Blue Ridge through her maiden voyage around the horn, and into the South Pacific. My station was on the bridge the day Blue Ridge came under fire following operations off the coast of North Vietnam, and it was Captain Carrol who gave orders to turn the ship into the fire and for us to open fire - engaging the shore battery.

Enemy guns were silenced. Wow! What a great Captain!

Bill Brown
Chicago, IL

Magellan and I (Title of my Father's book)

My father, Colonel Andrew P. Kelly, was a copilot and navigator during WWII. He flew the CBI route for a year, (The Hump), and 2 years ferrying planes with 70 roundtrip flights from New York to Paris. The plane he flew the most was the C-46, but flew others as well.

He went on to volunteer at Fairchild AFB for decades, working with the Air Force Museum, where a large display of his uniform, flight jacket and his many accolades reside. He also started the Blue Ribbon Committee, bringing entertainment to the base for the officers as well as the enlisted. As a comedian myself, I was proud to perform for both.

After a successful career in plumbing and heating sales, he was also on the Board of Trustees at Eastern Washington University for 7 years, 1 year as Chairman. He ran for State Senator in Washington as well. He was very active in his church,too. All after raising 7 children!

As you can see, I'm extremely proud of my Dad, who we lost in 2010 at the age of 92 and rests in Spokane, Washington.

Kristine Kelly

Kristine Kelly
Spokane, WA

A Real Hero And She's Only 101 1/2 Years Young!

My aunt, Lillian Nutter, lives in a small town in Indiana. For many years, she's been sending boxes to the troops overseas. Thankfully the veterans from the USS Salamonie Museum have continued to make it possible for her to keep sending the boxes by paying for the postage. This amazing lady has given of herself and her limited resources for quite a few years and is even keeping a scrapbook of all the thank you notes she's gotten from the "boys and girls", as she calls them,to leave to the museum. She doesn't see herself as doing anything extraordinary but I truthfully don't know of any other people even close to her age doing something so special and so selfless. I'm very proud of my aunt and want to share her accomplishments with the world. She's been honored by the governor and the lieutenant governor of Indiana as well as by the vets who she has helped. (It was through her red hatter group, which she started many years ago, that the USS Salamonie was able to be anchored where it is so it could be a museum.) I know she thinks nothing of this and always tells me she's not doing anything special, but to me she is. She's a true hero and I hope her story can be shared with everyone as she deserves it. Hopefully her story will inspire others to follow in her footsteps so that those fighting overseas can continue to get reminders that they are not forgotten!

PS This is a link to a picture and story of her and the museum. http://www.huntingtoncountytab.com/special/salamonie/23053/presentation-uss-salamonie-museum

Sandra Van Domelen
Grand Chute, WI
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