I took today's photo on the Pride of Baltimore, an 18th century schooner that is part of the tall ship preservation movement that reminds us of America's early days. If you note, the flag has only 13 stars representing the original 13 colonies. Those colonies fought a war to gain freedom from England - so patriotism and defending liberty is a big part of our heritage. I can trace the European portion of my ancestry clean back to 1632 when a man named Samuel Lincoln came to the New World as an indentured servant. I imagine Samuel would shake his head in disbelief if he could see where his great adventure has gone.
When I think about veterans, I don't have to look far afield. My father and grandfather both served in WW2; Dad in the North Atlantic flying over the frigid seas to photograph enemy submarines, and Gramp helped build the Burma Road. My brother was a sailor in the Vietnam era and he was wounded in Etheopia before entering the submarine service. Two sisters served in the military, one saw combat in Desert Storm. I think of their stories with pride. They fought and served for all of us and I believe we owe a debt of gratitude for all of the men and women who step out to defend the ideal of freedom.
In a sense, we are all veterans, for whenever there are soldiers, there are families at home that pray for their safe return. Today is a day for us to all pause and reflect on the service the American warriors have rendered to the cause of freedom. I know I am grateful for the effort that keeps free speech alive so that I can write what I wish and share my ideas with the world. You can't do that in every place in the world.
And so I say thank you vets, and God Bless America!