Tag Archives: Veterans Day

It Wasn’t Just a Freeway Sign

30 May

I see his name every time we drive to Legoland. At first it didn’t mean much. I didn’t know him. Just some guy’s name on the side of the freeway.

But I realized later that this wasn’t some guy. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg made me aware.

Now granted Spielberg is a bowl of cinematic awesomeness, and when combined with the passion of storytelling that is Tom Hanks … man! They open your eyes and make you care about the lives of these people, people who shouldn’t be forgotten.

He had been awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor because of his courageous efforts during the Battle of Guadacanal, and was given The Navy Cross posthumously. United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was killed in Iwo Jima during WWII. He had just been married a couple of months before.

I enjoyed learning about his strength and character in the story, but I imagine in real life there was so much more to this down to Earth guy who believed so much in doing the right thing. He probably had a favorite baseball team, a favorite spot on the beach, a favorite meal he liked to enjoy with his mom, a favorite spot where he found peace, or something that always made him laugh.

I was sad to learn that he had died on the battlefield, bravely, but nevertheless his life ended there. But I was glad that I became aware of his story.



I had no idea who he was until 2010, and now every Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day I think of him and the sacrifices he made so that I could hang out with my kids at amusement park surrounded by Legos, or splashing in the waves at the beach. There were a lot of men, and boys, that died on the battlefield and today was one of the days that I’m reminded  … Be grateful.

There are a lot of people in history that have gone unnoticed, some have dedications and plaques, while others do not. But regardless of whether they’re famous or not, they all deserve to be remembered for trying to make our world a better and safer place, in between the hamburgers on the grill or sandcastles on the beach, remembering unsung heroes is important.

They provide us with opportunities of happiness that might not have been there.




Easy Company, HBO, and Dad

11 Nov

On this day most Americans remember veterans and other military personnel who served our country. Most people pause and give thought to the sacrifices given by these brave people. However today I found myself thinking about my dad.

He wasn’t in the military at all, but he really enjoyed the Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg mini-series  and movies that chronicled the World Wars. He especially appreciated the realistic story telling and drama of The Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Every year since HBO aired these mini-series one of the cable stations usually hosts a Veteran’s Day marathon and it’s a day-long watching event. I wasn’t able to watch the endless hours of intense drama today, but I caught a couple of episodes, and all I could think about was my dad.

Image via HBO

Now even though he’d seen the series air on HBO when it premiered, he probably would have recorded the episodes and then watched them after dinner. He’d brew up a pot of coffee, pour himself a cup, throw some pillows around and try to do his best to fix up the couch in preparation for his marathon. He so wished he had a Lazy-Boy.

My dad would call me to let me know of his plans and see if I wanted to stop by, and most of the time I would. We’d hang out … him with his coffee, me with my tea or chocolate, and hours of HBO drama. Not too many conversations during the show, just hanging out, watching the based-on-true-story accounts of soldiers. Just someone to watch television with and share a comfort zone of silence. The talking didn’t really begin until after the episodes finished, sort of a book club discussion, but without the books. Just HBO television with my friend.

So today as everyone remembered loved ones in the military or armed forces heroes from the past, I found myself rearranging the couch pillows, wishing I had a Lazy-Boy, and lying down watching Easy Company do its best to physically and emotionally survive the war. I thought about my dad and wished he was sharing the comfortable silence with me.