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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Remembering, honoring those who made July 4th possible

Memorial Day is just a few weeks behind us, and July 4th is dead ahead of us, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what the holidays mean.

There are several people I think of: My father-in-law and my uncle, both of whom served during World War II. My father-in-law never saw action and my uncle wasn’t supposed to, but his quartermaster unit was overrun during the Battle of the Bulge.

Uncle John never spoke of what happened, but I know from my aunt that it must have been bad. He had nightmares for several years afterward, and they restarted decades later during the buildup to the first Gulf War.

Another person on my mind is a police detective I knew when I was first getting started in journalism, when I had the police beat. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He told me about being a forward observer and having to run through the jungle to report an enemy sighting because radios were scarce.

He also told me about his return to the United States, and how it had to be timed for late at night to try to avoid protesters, who were still there waiting for him and the others when they landed at midnight.

I’ve also thought a lot about the son of a friend and industry executive I know. He’s just returned from his second, and hopefully last, deployment to Afghanistan.

At 24, the son has seen and done things the father can only imagine. I know the father is extremely proud of his son.

I also know the father is very proud of the government contracting industry, particularly the companies who’ve developed the technology that has put information and intelligence at the fingertips of soldiers in the field, technology which has saved countless lives.

It also allowed soldiers in the field to stay connected to home like never before, something I know my friend and his wife are very grateful for.

And finally, I can’t help but think of Marine Corps Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, the most recent recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

I saw his interview with David Letterman last week, and I’ve posted it below. Letterman does a great job of standing in for us and asking the kind of questions I’d want to ask. He’s a great interviewer.

As you can see from the interview, Carpenter is an amazing young man and someone all Americans should be proud of.

So, as we get ready for the holiday weekend and the cookouts and celebrations, I hope people like my uncle and my friend’s son and Cpl. Kyle Carpenter aren’t far from our minds.

We owe that to them and to so many others.

Enjoy the weekend and remember those who made it possible.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 02, 2014 at 9:25 AM

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