My father was in the Navy after he graduated from college. It was during the Korean war. My grandfather swore my dad never would have grown up had it not been for the Navy. Nice try, but he really never DID grow up, which was one of the magical things about him, one of the many reasons his children adored him, and why he was, indeed, the world's greatest pediatrician.
The flag from my dad's funeral is among my prized possessions.
My step-father, Charlie, is one of the most fascinating people on the planet. He is a psychologist by trade and has voluntarily devoted much of his free time to veterans' affairs. He testifies before Congress on a regular basis, is interviewed by CNN and other news organizations as an expert on WWII, POW/MIA/VA issues as well as post traumatic stress disorder. He is invited to the White House on a regular basis (but refused to go during our former president's last term) and was instrumental in pushing forward the WWII memorial in D.C. His passion for this work comes from the fact that he, himself, was a prisoner of war during WWII. He walks with difficulty, not because of his age, but because he was pushed off of a moving train by the Nazis. The stories he tells of how he survived in captivity keep you on the edge of your seat. He has every right to be a little bitter, but he is far from it. He is incrediby unassuming and defines a hero in my book.
So for my dad and for Charlie and the millions of men and women who have served or currently serve in our armed forces, enjoy your family, your friends and your freedom today.