Today is round two of Veterans Day (the federal holiday), and yesterday I took my Dad to lunch.

Every Sunday rain or shine, Dad and I go to lunch and just talk.  Dad has so much life stored away in his mind, and yesterday as it should have been the subject was his military service.  Dad and his two brothers, Charles and Robert all served their country in the Army, Army Air Corps, and the Navy, respectively.  Today I asked Dad to tell me more about those days.  His eyes sparkle as he talks of his days as an Ordinance officer in the Army.  Dad had finished his first four years of college prior to enlisting in the Army.  Because he had taken ROTC in college, he began his service as a Lieutenant .  His service was during the Korean War.

Dad was stationed at White Sands Missile Range here in New Mexico.  It was here that he met mom.  This North Carolina backwoods boy might never have met my mother, if had he not enlisted in the army.  White Sands is a long way from the sleepy Smokey Mountain town of Arden, NC.  The most fascinating part of this story is what the United States gave him for his service.

After his tour of service, my Dad went on to take advantage of the GI Bill, which sent him back to school where he received his Masters in Chemical Engineering.  The best part was what my Dad gave back to the United States of America; he gave them his knowledge.  Dad had an exceptional career as did his older brother Charles who was also educated through the GI bill.

My Dad’s talents led him to work in the field of  Aerospace.  His biggest achievement was that he developed the material for the leading edge and nose cone of the Space Shuttle.  High temperature thermal protection systems were his specialty, and he holds 13 patents for these processes.

The moral to this story is we need to invest in our veterans, for they will give back.  The greatest period of research and development this country has ever known was fueled by the educations made possible by the GI Bill post World War II and Korean War.  Did you know that the GI Bill still exists today?  Read all about it.

So today take a grandfather, a father, or an uncle to lunch or dinner, and learn about their legacy.