Why We Should All Celebrate and Recognize Armed Forces Day

NC Flight of Honor 2010 Crowd Image Copyright Lisa Sullivan

Image: The homecoming of a Triangle Flight of Honor return flight in November 2010.

Chances are you know someone in the military. It could even be yourself. Whether active duty, National Guard, or retired Veteran, either you or someone you know made one of the most important decisions in their lives by becoming a member of our Armed Forces fighting for the freedoms we in America so richly enjoy. THAT’s why we celebrate Armed Forces Day the third Saturday of every May.

For me, I can name a whole bunch of people I know that have spent some time as a soldier. Growing up, it was my neighbor’s father, Larry, who would often leave on deployment for a year at a time to places like South Korea. As I got older, then it became my 18 year-old friends who chose military life over college (or who chose both). People like my friends Jim, Jay, Matt, Jerry, and probably a couple of others I can’t think of at this moment. Flash forward to years later and my cousin joins the army, my friends from various places we’ve lived are now serving. Of course, we lived in San Antonio for a time. Did you know it’s the seventh largest city in the U.S. known as “Military City USA”? We now live in central North Carolina. Ft. Bragg is just down the street and not too far away is Pope and Seymour Johnson Air Force Bases as well as Camp Lejune. You see, more than one person I know has been in the military all of my life. But, there’s one person in my family who is my personal military hero – my grandfather and it’s really because of him, I salute our soldiers.

John Salo Image Copyright Lisa Sullivan 1992 All Rights ReservedMy granddaddy was an active duty soldier for a short time, but it was in a time in our country’s history that will forever be remembered – World War II.

Grandpa John was stationed for a time at Ft. Hood, TX, sailed on a ship in the Pacific Ocean at one point in his career too, but the one thing I will never forget is that he and his Battalion were on the coast of Normandy, France just a day or two after D-Day. I can’t even imagine.

I’m not sure my family even knows how much I looked up to my grandfather because of his military duty, but I did. The mere fact that he came back alive, was able to start a family, and live a normal life as a civilian after being involved in such a conflicted period in history, it was all I could do to appreciate all he did for us, for America.

I’m the girl that gets a natural high when visiting a military base or when attending an Air Show (sometimes featuring our Blue Angels or Thunderbirds). Growing up, we used to attend Armed Forces Day parades and fairs in Ft. Devens, MA. To this day, if there’s an event or cause featuring our military, I’m usually there. And I can thank Grandpa and all of my friends and family for that influence.

My grandpa passed away in 2003 and I miss him terribly. He was a GOOD man. He was and continues to be MY Hero.

And that’s why I salute our Armed Forces every chance I get – to honor him.

So, thank you Grandpa, Larry, Jim, Jay, Jerry, Matt, Andy, Greg, Tyler, and everyone else who chose a career in the military to fight for my freedoms.

Happy Armed Forces Day to YOU!

2013 Armed Forces Day U.S. DOD

Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense

To read more about Armed Forces Day visit the U.S. Department of Defense website.

Image of John Salo taken in May 1992. Copyright Lisa Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Featured Image of Triangle Flight of Honor, November 2010. Copyright Lisa Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

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