Re­mem­ber­ing Pop-Pop on Vet­er­ans Day

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamie drake out­doors @out­look.com

For gen­er­a­tions, Amer­ica’s men and women in uni­form have de­feated tyrants, lib­er­ated coun­tries and set a stan­dard for courage and com­mit­ment to the prin­ci­ples on which our coun­try was founded both in the home­land and around the globe. On Vet­er­ans Day, our na­tion pays trib­ute to those who have served in the Armed Forces.

To­day, Nov. 11, Vet­er­ans Day, was orig­i­nally called Ar­mistice Day, and was es­tab­lished to honor the vet­er­ans of the Great War, World War I. This date was cho­sen be­cause the ma­jor hos­til­i­ties of World War I for­mally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

This day hon­ors all our vet­er­ans and gives us the chance

to of­fer up a col­lec­tive “Thank You” to the men and women who have served or are serv­ing in our Armed Forces. They most cer­tainly de­serve it.

Maybe but you can trace your fam­ily’s lin­eage back to the Ark and the Dove or you’re a first-gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­can, but we are all one great na­tion, united. And we all owe our na­tion’s vet­er­ans an enor­mous debt of grat­i­tude that can never be fully re­paid.

The schools in St. Mary’s County are closed to­day. My fam­ily will be head­ing to the pa­rade in Leonard­town this morn­ing. Peo­ple will be lin­ing the streets to view the bands play­ing pa­tri­otic mu­sic and the drill teams march­ing in time. And when vet­er­ans pass by, all

our hands should come to­gether in trib­ute to thank them for their ser­vice.

For be­ing in the mil­i­tary means sac­ri­fice. Long sep­a­ra­tion from loved ones, do­ing with­out the com­forts of home, and risk­ing life and limb — these are the ev­ery­day sac­ri­fices Amer­ica’s vet­er­ans have made to serve our coun­try and pro­tect our free­doms.

On this day each year, I re­mem­ber my grand­fa­ther, Gene Rod­ney White, and if you don’t mind me shar­ing a lit­tle bit, my heart swells with pride when I think of him.

He lived a long and rich life, was born and grew up in Penn- syl­va­nia, got a good ed­u­ca­tion, en­joyed suc­cess in the rail­road busi­ness and raised a good

fam­ily.

How­ever, when he was a very young man and World War II broke out he an­swered the call. He served in the Army and fought his way through Italy and Ger­many. He said good­bye to his par­ents, and spent nearly four years un­der arms, do­ing his best to do both his duty and keep breath­ing.

As a young­ster, I didn’t get a chance to know him very well be­cause he lived in West Vir­ginia and I only saw him briefly a few times each year. But when he got on in years he came to live here in South­ern Mary­land at the Vet­er­ans Home in Char­lotte Hall. This

prox­im­ity gave me the op­por­tu­nity to get to know him and learn a bit about his Army ser­vice when he was will­ing to share.

At the time, I soaked it in and ap­pre­ci­ated the sto­ries he told me. How­ever, now that I am

ma­ture and can put it all in con­text, I feel a much deeper sense of grat­i­tude and awe at his com­mit­ment to Amer­i­can ideals.

When I was a plebe at the U.S. Naval Academy, my dad would drive my grand­fa­ther to the Fri­day af­ter­noon dress pa­rades where the brigade would drill around Wor­den Field. Dur­ing the pass-in­re­view, my grand­fa­ther would have my fa­ther

help him out of his wheel­chair so he could stand as the col­ors passed by.

It didn’t mat­ter what the weather was, hot or cold, or what his med­i­cal con­di­tion was. No mat­ter what, he was go­ing to stand and honor the col­ors as they passed. My par­ents tried to dis­suade him from stand­ing be­cause he was an am­putee and his health was steadi- ly de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. He didn’t care one bit about that, though. He was go­ing to stand. He had Amer­i­can blood run­ning through his veins, and noth­ing would de­ter him from show­ing his pride.

My grand­fa­ther passed away be­fore the year was over, but I’ll never for­get see­ing the pride on his face as he stood for our flag and in honor of our great county. Thanks, Pop-Pop.

You and your peers made the sac­ri­fices that al­lowed me to live a good life, and more im­por­tantly, now that I am rais­ing a fam­ily, I ap­pre­ci­ate what it all means for our chil­dren’s fu­ture. What we all take for granted was earned by folks like Gene.

To­day, let’s all try to pon­der the sac­ri­fices that our vet­er­ans made and let them know how ap­pre­ci­ated they truly are.

Supermoon com­ing

Did you hap­pen to no­tice the huge full moon that graced our night sky in Oc­to­ber?

It was quite a sight to be­hold. But if you missed it, you are in luck. You’ll have an op­por­tu­nity to view an­other full moon next week.

Full moons hap­pen ev­ery month. They aren’t that spe­cial. Some­times two fall within the same cal­en­dar month, the sec­ond one called a blue moon, which is a bit spe­cial. But the full moon of Novem­ber will be some­thing su­per spe­cial. That’s be­cause it will be a supermoon.

The moon will be the clos­est it’s ever been to Earth since 1948 and won’t be this close again un­til 2034. Those facts alone should be enough to get you out­side and look up at the night sky on Mon­day, Nov. 14.

Since the moon’s or­bit around Earth isn’t a per­fect cir­cle, the moon is some­times closer or fur­ther away from us. The moon’s clos­est point to Earth is called “peri­gree,” and when it co­in­cides with a full moon, it’s known as a supermoon. The tech­ni­cal name is the peri­gree-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun Sys­tem. But supermoon is a lot eas­ier to say.

Novem­ber’s full moon is also re­ferred to at the Frost Moon, ac­cord­ing to The Old Farmer’s Al­manac. We haven’t had a frost yet, but my guess is there will be one fol­low­ing soon on the heels of Mon­day’s show-stop­per of a full moon.

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