As I grow a little longer in the tooth each year, I have come to appreciate more and more the efforts that have been made in my behalf and for and by those who have come before me in service to our great country. In hindsight, in my case, the draft in 1968 was perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me – a chance to mature, see some of the world, take on greater and greater responsibilities, continue and accelerate my formal education and make some very good and meaningful relationships with persons whose paths I should have never otherwise crossed. I am writing because each month I read the names of those fellow service persons whom I shall now never get to meet. I know, it is just the way it is, but still, it drives home the point that I owe so much to so many! I would like to share something I hope will redress that lack in some small way.
I was privileged to work at the U. S. Navy Memorial in Washington, DC in the early 1990s. While working there I shook hands with a man who had walked on the moon – Admiral Allan Shepherd; had my picture taken with my old COMNAVFORV – Adm. “Bud” Zumwalt; called “Attention on Deck for the Commander in Chief of the United States of America” – President G. H. W. Bush and bought coffee for a man, a true hero who had tread water in pitch darkness and waited three days to be torched out of the bottom of the overturned ship, the U. S. S. Utah in Pearl Harbor 70+ years ago. There are others, too.
The Internet is a marvelous place – here are several ways a veteran (or his/her family members acting in their behalf) can have recognized and acknowledged their service and sacrifice to our country. None of these cost you anything other than some time!
1. You can search the “Navy Log” at www.navymemorial.org for persons who have served in the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine or the Armed Guard of World War II. If you are not already in there, you may enroll yourself (or any other person who served at any time in history in the maritime services). I’ve even entered some Civil War ancestors who wore the Blue!
2. For members of the “Greatest Generation” you may enroll any service persons (and even “Civilians On The Home Front” like my mom) in the www.wwiimemorial.com/registry . There is no provision for photographs yet but it is still a real nice way to acknowledge them. No cost.
3. This is a little more for genealogy buffs, but still, at no cost, a great way to remember and honor those to whom we owe so much. You must create an “account” for yourself to make entries, but I feel the result is well worth the time involved for www.findagrave.com . Again, no cost.
4. Everybody must be aware of a phenomena called “Facebook” but this last one is not it! I think it is a little more refined and also more fun. www.togetherweserved.com is also a free medium for social interaction and perhaps finding some old friends with whom you have lost touch. (However, if you want messaging access within it, it is $20 a year) Note there are separate sections for the various branches of service. (By the way, my sleeve patch and ribbon colors did not print out) “
Jerry L. Lippincott, QMC USN (RET)