Memorial Day is a time to pay tribute to our men and women in the armed serices, who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect our country's safety. I know it is supposed to be service people who died in the service of their country, but I am saluting them all, living or dead.
My Dad was one of those men, a proud Marine through and through. He never went out of the house without his Marine cap on.
Earl Gillians was his name, and he was actually my step-dad but more of a father to me than my birth father. He joined the Marines in 1940 - I am told he lied about his age because he wasn't old enough to join.
Earl was present at both the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 12/7/41 and at the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima on 2/23/45.
Earl and his Marine compatriots were in their tents at Pearl Harbor when the attack began, and he always said that the Japanese planes were so low, they could see the whites of the pilots' eyes. Pretty scary!
In my research, I came across this website which shows some original Pearl Harbor photos, as the attack was happening.
One of the most famous military photos of WWII (or maybe most famous of all time) was the Raising the flag on Iwo Jima. The photographer won a Pulitzer Prize for his photo, and it was the basis for the USMC War Memorial statue at Arlington National Cemetery.
Photo by Joe Rosenthal - Associated Press
So, on this Memorial Day, I salute my Dad and all of the soldiers who came before and after him. Thank you all!