Life’s blessings recalled on this holiday

My life has been blessed beyond measure in more ways than I dare list.

I married the girl of my dreams at a tender age; I am fond of saying, “I hit it out of the park on the first pitch.” We brought two sons into this world and they have grown into caring, productive, well-educated and industrious men. I managed to pursue a journalism career that gave me modest success, a nice living and enabled me to see and do things and meet people that not everyone is able to do.

I graduated from high school in 1967, aka the Summer of Love. The Vietnam War was raging at its bloody worst. Uncle Sam summoned me to that conflict in the spring of 1969 … which brings me to another of my life’s many blessings.

To the best of my knowledge, no one in my high school class fell on the battlefield during that war. Many of us did our duty there. We came back and we pursued out lives.

Accordingly, I lost only one fellow soldier during my time in-country. He and I were assigned to the same Army aviation battalion; he served in a Huey helicopter company next to the OV-1 Mohawk fixed-wing company where I served. He died while flying on a troop-lift mission into a hot landing zone.

Therefore, I have been spared much of the war-related grief that many people of my age have suffered over the years.

It doesn’t lessen, though, the honor I bestow on those who have fallen in defense of our great nation. My late father, a World War II combat veteran, taught me the lessons of patriotism and what it means to serve your country with honor.

The men and women who have fallen fit the description of hero at any level one can imagine. I honor them on this — and every — Memorial Day.

In fact, their heroism, as I see it, has contributed to the many blessings I have enjoyed.