Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a ceremony honoring my brother-in-law, John T. Snoeyenbos, for his service in the U.S. Army. My sister, Arlene, was presented the plaque of gratitude. As I sat there in this humbling atmosphere I thought of my other brothers.
My oldest brother, now passed on, served in Korea as a water truck driver for a Mash Unit. He would tell us stories about how cold it would get in Korea and the frostbite soldiers endured.
When my brother Pat was drafted and left home to go to Vietnam, normality changed. Every night we would watch the news and hear of the casualties. ‘Casualties’ was a softer way of saying ‘deaths’. I remember one leave Pat had when I was 16. He instructed me to hit him in the stomach to show me how tough and in shape he was. I did. I hit high and knocked the wind out of him. He was lying on the floor when I left. Never did that again.
When my brother Norman’s brother-in-law, Dick Rohl, returned from Vietnam, any loud bang, Dick would hit the ground. I remember Dick telling the story of riding a helicopter to the ground after the tail was shot off. He said it spun all the way down to the ground. He suffered from the effects of Agent Orange and the government’s denials of it to his dying day.
My nephew, Alyssa and Natasha’s Brother, Johnathon Radtke, served two tours in Afghanistan. His stories are different in substance but always the same, soldiers serving their country.
All Veterans have one thing in common; they all appreciate a simple ‘Thank You’.