My grandfather served in the Pacific Theater during WW2 along with other members of my family. In the years before – and since – on both my parents’ side of my family tree there have been those that served their country in times of war and peace. This is the case for most families in this country.
I have had the honor to call four veterans friends. Sadly, three of them are no longer with us.
Jan Janovice also served in WW2 and he was there when the United States was drawn into the conflict. He was stationed on the USS Sacramento in Pearl Harbor in 1941 and survived the chaos and terror of the attack by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941. I met Jan in Modesto, California in the 1990s and enjoyed a decade-long friendship before his passing.
Mike Gibson served in the Navy in Vietnam and often said a part of him never came home when his service in that war ended. I met Mike in 2004 and enjoyed a friendship that endured and flourished even though he and I never met in person a single time.
I met Ron Sarhad in 2013 while researching From The Fields. His friendship and help with the book I treasure more than any royalty check earned from the book.
I met Jim Christina in 2016 when I made my first appearance on his radio show, The Writer’s Block. Jim also served in Vietnam and has become a fast friend. We’ve become business partners in Tuscany Bay Books.
On this day I cherish my friendships with all four and miss Jan, Mike and Ron – especially Ron who passed this past August and Mike who passed just this last September – very much.
I thank them, I thank all veterans who served and I thank all those that gave the ultimate service and are no longer among us for their service to this great country.