profile pic on Facebook today is my Dad, Kenneth Nutting Gelder, during his time in
the Army Air Force during World War II. The Air Force used to be a
division of the Army, before becoming it's own military branch. He was a
Gunnery Sergeant and earned a number of medals and honors, flying more
than 50 missions.
As I understand it, the "deal" at the time
was, if you flew 50 missions, you were given your ticket home. Fifty
times in the air was enough risk, as far as Uncle Sam was concerned, and
if you made it to that mark and you were still alive, they let you go.
(My favorite band, the Tragically Hip, coincidentally has a song called
"Fifty Mission Cap")
Dad flew his 50th mission near the end of
the war, when fighting was at some of its worst. His commander called
him in and told him that he was released, but that they were asking men
if they would stay to help finish the job.
Dad said yes, and
flew several more missions, where he could have lost his life. When I
asked him what made his stay, he shrugged - literally, shrugged - and
said, "We had a job to do."
Thanks, to my Dad, and all the
Fathers and Sons before and since who have sacrificed for all of us.
Let's try to make sure no one else has to remember a loved one lost to
war ever again.