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Today is Memorial Day. Or at least as I write this, it's Memorial Day.
On Memorial Day, we honor those who have died in defense of our country. We plant flags in cemeteries, and place wreaths at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. We fly flags, we have BBQs, and we go to baseball games.
We also honor those still alive that have served our country. Many served with distinction, and many gave their lives, their limbs and their minds; and many were never the same. There were also millions like me, who served, but were rarely in danger. I served as a combat arms officer in the Army, and I spent my time defending Western Europe from the Russian hordes. Despite the fact that it was unusual that I was ever more than 100 meters from a beer, I am never the less proud to have served my country. But I never pretend that I contributed, or suffered the way so many did with quiet dignity.
One such honor was on display at the Louisville Bats' game today. Six veterans, one representing each of the most recent wars was invited to throw out ceremonial "first pitches" at today's game. There was a veteran from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the 1st Gulf War, Bosnia, and the Iraq/Afghanistan.
My father, Lou DiGiuro, was honored to be one of those 6. He was representing the Korean War - although technically he was in the Army Air Corps, and the Air Force during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.. 28 years over four decades, on 4 continents, and then another 20 years working in the production and maintenance of full sized Air Force jets converted to drones for use as targets in air to air combat training - almost 50 years of service to the Air Force.
I'm proud of my father and his service; much more proud than he is. I'm proud of the other veterans honored at the Bats game today, and proud of all those who gave so much, in so many wars, for so many years.
So as Memorial Day winds down, I'm reminded that thousands of veterans of all wars die every day. If you know a vet, especially an older one, make it a point to let them know that you appreciate their service. Don’t delay, some of them don’t have much time.