Veteran’s – They serve for our freedom

Nov 12

Veteran’s Day we set aside to remember all those who serve or have served our country. Without the courage and sacrifice of our Vets we would not continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have in this country. Really, we should be showing our gratitude and giving thanks to our Vets every day of the year not just on Veteran’s Day.

Often the true sacrifice of these Vets gets lost in the scurrying around that we do because “we have the day off”. I believe that the sacrifice is best brought home by taking time to reflect on the real life stories of some of these brave men and women. This morning on NPR the Story Corp clip was of a Pearl Harbor survivor. It is just a brief 2 minute audio and I encourage you to listen to it here.

My uncle, Charles Mason Hoge, was a graduate of VMI and a World War II veteran. I don’t recall him ever talking about his time serving his country and it was not until after his death that learned what he did during World War II. In the 1960-70’s he was an audiophile and well ahead of his time, setting up surround sound with reel-to-reel tapes in his house and putting in Mortorola radio system in his and my aunt’s cars so that they could talk to each other when they were driving around town in their separate cars. I always thought he was just a tinkerer until I later learned about his service. He was an army communications officer during the war often going out in advance of the troops and setting up so that he could radio back positions and provide targets as our troops made their way through Europe. He was very humble about his service but remained close to his fellow VMI grads until his death.

A good friend and former employee of mine, Steve Taraborelli, and I were talking one day at work about our shared interest in WWII history. Steve began telling me about his father’s service during the war. Steve’s father, Victor, enlisted when he was just 16, lying about his age. He was a very good swimmer and became one of the original frogmen. Steve found a diary of his father during the time he served near Iwo Jima. He brought the original in to the office and shared it with me, later putting the story online so that other’s could know the story of a young man during the war. I encourage you to visit Steve’s blog with the journal posts from his father’s journal during his time in the Pacific Theater Start with the earliest posts and work your way back. The blog includes photographs as well and gives a real picture of what a young man might feel in such difficult circumstances. Steve’s father earned the Bronze Star.

We had a long history of paying tribute to our WWII Vets but it took us many years to pay proper tribute to the Veterans’ of Vietnam. One of the most moving experiences I have ever had was standing in front of Vietnam War Memorial. The simple elegance of the wall with so many names of those who perished in the service of our country is extremely powerful.

Take a minute to listen to George Jones’ “50,000 names” and watch this video of the Wall.

A number of years later I visited the newly completed Korean War Memorial late one evening. This particular memorial is best seen at night when the lighting can give you a real sense of the eerie feeling a soldier must have out in the field of battle in a foreign land.

Today we have soldiers strewn across the world in numerous conflicts giving their all for us and fighting for freedom in foreign lands. Many pay the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. We owe them a debt of gratitude that cannot be overstated. They serve so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we so readily take for granted. Freedom is not free. Thank a Veteran today and every day that you see one. Take a minute to be inspired by the fight songs of each of our branches of the military.

Navy –



Marines –

And finally, do something today to help those that have served and are suffering. Visit the Wounded Warrior Project and find out how you can help honor their service.


  1. mate do you have a twitter?

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