Remembering Pop-Pop on Veterans Day
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
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.
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.