Several members of my family served in the military over the years. My grandfather was in the Army in World War I. So were his brothers. One of them didn't see much action. He spent most of his time in the guardhouse--but he did some impressive artwork while he was there.
My father served in the Army during World War II. He was a sharpshooter. He was given an honorable discharge after being injured--an injury the Army doctors told him would eventually put him in a wheelchair. It never happened.
Three uncles, Tony, Harry and Charlie, were in the Navy during that same war. They were all there the day the flag was raised on Iwo Jima--but didn't know the others were there. They were on three different ships. Uncle Harry, ever the wisecracker, had this to say about Japanese kamakazi pilots: "They're nuts. They're flying their planes at the ships, grinning the whole time. They thought dying was an honor!"
One cousin died before I was born--in the Korean War. I believe he was the only family member to die at war.
Four cousins served during the Vietnam War: Jim, Ron and Bob were all in the Air Force. Tommy was in the Marines. Jim said they had a sign posted in their barracks: IF CAPTURED ASK TO BE TAKEN TO STALAG 13. Sorry, guys, but Hogan's Heroes was set in Germany--during World War II!
As far as I know, we haven't had anyone in the Middle East--though Jim did spend some time in Iran not long before the US Embassy was taken hostage.
To close, a few photos from my last visit to Washington DC....