All of my life, I was surrounded by veterans.
Growing up, I had my grandfathers — Philip Silvia, my mom’s father, and Ed Frazar, my dad’s father.
Grandpa Phil was a tech sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and grandpa Ed served sergeant in the National Guard.
I don’t know much about their service; I never really asked about it growing up. And there are times, like when Veterans Day comes around that I regret not talking to them more about it.
The little I do know about grandpa Phil’s time in the service was he and the family were stationed overseas for a while, and my aunt was born in Turkey.
It’s funny to think that there are people that family met while stationed and now live in the very same town that we do.
My grandfather’s last duty station was Randolph Air Force Base. It was during their time living in the area that they ventured out to McQueeney and found a little campsite on the lake they fell in love with and befriended the owner — Hotshot and Ellen Hartman.
Most of you know the rest of that story.
My dad’s family is from the area, my great grandfather having owned land on the river and watching it become a lake.
Then, of course, growing up across the lake from each other is how my parents met. It wasn’t until they became adults they began dating and got married.
In 1996, my sister decided to enlist in the Army, and just a couple of weeks after graduation, she took off to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic training.
I was mad when she left, and I stayed upset with her long after she returned. Not because she joined the Army; I was beyond proud of that, but because she left.
In her senior year, we finally started to become close after years of bickering and fighting. And then she chose to leave. We got lucky, and since her choice of service was medic, she was sent to Fort Sam Houston for her advanced individual training, and she would get to come home on weekends.
She eventually left active duty and joined the National Guard. It was through one of her fellow friends in the guard that she met her husband, Chris, who was serving as a medic at Fort Sam.
He served a deployment in Korea. After the September 11 attacks, my sister was called to active duty and was deployed to Fort Hood. While not an overseas deployment, it was a deployment nonetheless.
A few years after his leave from military duty, Chris was called again to serve and was sent overseas to Afghanistan.
His deployment was hard on their little family, but like any military family, they made it through with the support of their immediate family and extended family and friends.
To say we are proud of our family’s service to this county is an understatement. We understand the sacrifices that are made not just by the serviceman or woman, but their families.
It’s not an easy job, and not everyone can do it. And I salute those who did, those who are doing it and those who will do it.
This Veterans Day — like all of the ones that came before it — is a time to honor, remember, and to show them how much their duty and love for this country means to the rest of us.
To all veterans: thank you for service and sacrifices. They do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.