Whenever I see a uniform, I want to thank them for their service. I’m not sure that most of America understands what they do. I’m a veteran but was “between wars” so never had to jump in the “deep end” of the human struggle. I hear about these young men and women doing multiple tours to Iraq or Afghanistan or both. WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more…I listened to the stories of my uncles in World War II, of the horror, the wonder, and the joy of returning home.Some of you may remember seeing the POWs getting off the C-141s in March 1973. Absolute joy. An unbelievable, almost indescribable feeling of relief and hope. Relief that war was over and they were home at last. Hope that our country would help heal them as well as itself. The stories of individual and group sacrifice and heroism the POWs wrote about in the years following their release gave us gritty insight into the cruelty of man but more importantly into the strength of the service men and women who went through those awful times. I salute each and all.I had four uncles that spent years away from home in WWII, all of them in the Navy. One was on board an LST that landed several times Omaha Beach on D-Day. That was Bob Brandt. In fact, he was on every landing made in Europe during the war. All on that same LST.My uncle Bob Jones was on the USS Enterprise. The Enterprise participated in more major actions of the war against Japan than did any other US ship. Two years ago, Uncle Bob Jones was on an Honor Flight from his hometown in Minnesota. My family tagged along with him and his group of humble heroes and heard war stories, laughter, and some heart wrenching stories of heroism and terror. But mostly what we noticed was humility and gratitude. They each had blue T-shirts to wear during the trip, but when they were out at the WWII Memorial, Uncle Bob wanted to wear his red USS Enterprise shirt. He was proud of that ship and very easy to spot in the crowd. This is them, at the Memorial, returning salute.My father-in-law, Ed Crevonis, was in the USAF–well originally the USAAF. He was a bombadier on a B-17 in WWII. When the war was over, he went to pilot training and then flew a variety of airplanes including the KC-97 and a rescue airplane, a PBY. He was in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He was proud of his service but, like other heroes, did not brag about what he’d done. If you could get him to talk about WWII, you’d hear about Bremen, Schweinfurt, and other places…missions that to many are only entries in history books. I’d known him many years before I heard about his Distinguished Flying Cross. Distinguished Flying Cross!?! That’s a big deal! The DFC was for his part as a pilot during a crazy, dangerous rescue in the middle of the Pacific. He was proud of that medal but never made a big deal out of the story; the most notice he made was when the story was told in a military magazine, he sent us a copy.This last shot is of our country honoring Ed at his funeral. I’m proud of him, proud of my uncles and thankful to all who serve. I salute you.