One thing that has always bothered me about patriotic holidays, we seem to forget that there are many who have served who did not see combat. They may not have died for their country, but they still dedicated their lives to it.
Paul served over 19 years in the Air Force. He would have done more, but his body gave up on him, at the age of 41 he had a disabling stroke. Over the next 10 years he worked with the local Disabled American Veterans chapter. He went to the Veterans hospital and gave out cookies and soda to the patients - and being Paul he also gave out a lot of bad jokes and smiles. For several years we went to a local cemetery with the Boy Scouts and helped decorate the graves on Memorial Day. And he always made a point of being present for any ceremonies for the fallen.
One of the last things he did was ride on his DAV chapter's float in the Veterans Day parade last year. When he got home he told me he felt he didn't have the right to be up there with men who had served in WWII, Korea, VietNam and the Gulf. It hurt me to hear him belittle his life so.
So on Veteran's Day and every day:
Not every Vet has served in combat,
but every one is a Hero.
In Honor of Paul G. Sholette 1955-2006