Archive for the ‘All about me , blah, blah,blah’ Category

Reflecting on a Long Time Friendship

Posted on: June 24th, 2014 by admin

Flags and Bunting at GraveThought I might take a moment to reflect on someone who made an impact on my life. I am getting older, definitely on the down side of  life but  I’m feeling good and glad  I can still work. Yet I can’t avoid the fact that I am beginning to see some of my  friends pass through eternal portals. “Life is short” as the saying goes. And it indeed is.

Bill was a lifelong friend. He was a year ahead of me in high school and the All American boy.  He was on the basketball and baseball teams and dated Lynda , a high school cheerleader. She is a friend of my wife, Gloria.  There was a group of 4 girl friends, thick as thieves. The guys came to know each other because of  the girls’ friendship with each other.  Gloria, Kathy, Lynda and Karen. Grade school buddies.

Bill and Lynda went steady though high school, then he went off to college, graduated, came home and eventually  married Lynda. He worked with his uncle in a specialized beef products plant. He worked long hours and Lynda worked as a  secretary first for a local college president and then an attorney.  Along the way they had 3 girls. All three would grow up to be successful in their own right. As the girls grew, Bill and Lynda dug  in  and provided a loving  home  for them. Besides being an involved father Bill loved baseball and we  could always find “Willy” on some team  in the field or behind the plate, no matter what the  age category.  He was pretty good too.

Throughout the years we could always count on the ladies conniving  to get us all together for fellowship and laughs. In the beginning  it was picnics with kids running crazy all over the place, then high school and college graduations,  then weddings and then finally yearly dinners around Valentine’s Day to reminisce about life’s  joys and challenges . But we all had the best laughs when “Willy” would go into one of his stories. He had a way of taking the most  innocuous word or phrase and turning it  into some double meaning  local colloquialism. By the time he was finished we would all be staring  at each other asking ourselves “Where does he  come up with this  stuff?’  Phrases like ” It was ornbelievable” or  ” Can I go wit ya?” or how he would ” pull his pork at 350 degrees”  at work.  If anyone of the group got too serious or mad at each other, we could always count on Bill to bring us back to a sense of collegiality.
Bill was also Mr. Handyman, he could fix almost anything. I’ll never forget the first time I hung wallpaper. It was  my kids’ room in our first house. It was an  old house with plaster walls. I spend hours getting the room ready, hung the paper with great care and sat back to admire my work. A couple of hours later it all fell down in the middle of the night. I called Bill in a panic and he came over and told me it would have  worked well if I had “sized” the walls.  What the hell was that? The walls sucked the paste right off the paper since I hadn’t sealed them. Or the time when I had a leak in a water line to the furnace and tried to “sweat” a new copper piece in.   Could not get it to stick.  Another panic call to Bill. Well Bill told me it works better if water is drained from the system so that the solder would take. It took me 3 hours to drain my old hot water heating system of 3 floors with radiators. We laughed about that one for awhile. I liked that about him; he laughed with me, not at me. And he taught me in a kind manner.
My friend Bill passed away a couple of weeks ago.  He fought a courageous battle against cancer for over 5 years.  I won’t say he lost that battle because he left a legacy  for his family and friends. He was surrounded by a  loving family at the end. Bill’s 7 grandchildren were nearby and I’m sure will have fond memories of their grandfather they will never forget.
Bill loved the water. He and Lynda always had a place close to water. He even tried getting me to water ski once, though I could never get up. But we would get in the boat, me and Gloria and the kids, and  Bill always made us feel like we were on a cruise.  I know he is at peace right now, pain-free and enjoying some celestial water  time. I’ll miss him. But I have a feeling he will always  be “wit us”.

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It’s official, I have become my father.

Posted on: October 2nd, 2012 by admin

I never thought it would happen. I have become my father. From what I remember he was a great guy. WWII vet,  wounded twice, held down 2 jobs, treated my mother like a queen, was working on his college degree by correspondence and couldn’t do enough for me and my brother. He was a maintenance man at a hotel. Used to keep the boilers running. Left us too soon. But I guess what I mean is that as I was growing up,  I looked out at other male role models. You know, uncles,  teachers, policemen, businessmen and  the like.

When I finally got a real job,  in local government, I was concerned about how I would be perceived by those I worked with and those folks who I came in contact with as citizens and taxpayers. When I moved into private industry I really become self conscious  of my appearance to customers.

So I dressed up….. Suit and tie and nice shoes.  I really did not think it was a matter of choice. If you are going to do business you should look like a “professional”

Well things have changed. Saw Mark Zukerberg and Steve Jobs on Videos. Jobs has passed on, but Zuckerberg is obviously still around. Jobs dressed like a slob and Zuckerberg looks like a  new Freshman in college. I don’t think I have to tell anybody how rich they are.  About the only men who wear suits and ties are lawyers and bankers. And you know how admired they are right now.

I wouldn’t dare comment on women’s attire, but from listening to my wife, things are not much better on their side of the isle.

I guess the culture has changed but am I really ready for it? Somehow going to work in jeans and a tee shirt doesn’t flash of any business savvy. But who knows. I am sitting here with an open collar button down shirt and no tie. Flat paneled permanent press pants with black loafers. That’s about as far as I’ll go just so dad doesn’t come back and haunt me.

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“We are just like family in this office”, Oh really… Do you take out the garbage and wash the dishes?

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by admin

I am sick of all of these cliches about what its like to work in an office. “Well we are like a big family”. That’s nice….if your family was like my family we didn’t talk about anything, we usually yelled real loud about what we thought was important.
My brother and I slept in the same room  right through high school.  He liked to sneak out at night and I hated to go to bed early.  He liked Hard Rock, I liked Motown. He was shop, I was college prep.We spent every morning threatening each other over who would use the bathroom first. Sometimes  my mother ended the argument with a wooden spoon across the butt.  Does your manager ever try that on you. My father was too busy working 2 jobs to get really involved but he was like this gigantic  specter out there who was waiting to get the word from one of my nun teachers or my mother to really let me have it. He died young at 42 but left me with a legacy I’ll never forget. The rest of my growing up years were spent getting in and out of trouble, working part time jobs,  going to school and getting into really loud arguments with my grandfather, aunts and uncle and thinking about how fast I could get out of the house and away from the drama that my  mother and brother were always trying to  have me play a bit part in.

Family atmosphere, what a bunch of crap. I go to the office to get away from family. When my kids were small , like from  0-18 years old, I can remember saying ” I love you but I don’t like you guys very much”. Thank God for my wife, Gloria, she has the patience of Penelope. If you don’t remember who Penelope was then go back and read the story of  Penelope in Greek Mythology. Remarkable woman, that’s my wife. More than one occasion she had to stop me from grabbing one of my two sons who mouthed off to me during those wonderful “Teen Years”.  We had boys. People who have girls tell me they are  a separate  issue with different kinds of  “loving needs”.

There were times when I would drag my butt home after dealing with clients, agents and office politics that Gloria would look at me with flames in her eyes hand me the two kids and let me know that she was going out to do something for her.
At that point I pretty much let them do whatever they wanted. I just wanted some peace.

So I like the business atmosphere of an office. I really don’t want to be part of your family. And I can assure you, you don’t want to be part of mine. I want to work with you. Professionally, as a colleague . I have my share of family things I like. For example, my grand children. Its different with them. I can spoil them rotten and then send them home to their mother and father. But they ain’t listing or selling any real estate. Maybe someday they will lend me some money or let me move in with them. I am not going to do that for you unless you have a cosigner  and collateral.

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A Final Goodbye to a Warrior

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by admin

A good friend of mine and former Army Officer Jerry Miller sent me an email the other day that really made my heart both swell with pride and break at the same time. Jerry lives out in Southern California and he is a member of the class of ’71 of the University of Scranton. We were an all male class at the time and several of us have gotten close again as the years have gone by and frequently reflect on those things that friends like to reminisce about as they get older.  One thing we all share is an extreme admiration of the young men and women who serve their country. Jerry was struck by an event of a local soldier and decided to attend. His words need no embellishment to do justice to the recipient. Here they are for your consideration and introspection.

Friday, February 3, 2012 5:20 PM
This morning I read in the paper of a memorial ceremony to be held today for a Marine who recently gave his life in Afghanistan.  23 years old when he died, he had wanted to be a Marine ever since he was 7 years of age.  He left behind a 21 year old wife and a young child.This young hero grew up in our city of Lake Forest but I did not know him nor any of his family.  Yet, for some reason, I felt compelled to go and honor him.  I have never attended such a memorial service.Upon arriving at the church I observed dozens of police cars and motorcycles and even more civilian motorcycles,  Yes, the Patriot Guard was there in force.  And the parking lot was full of vehicles.  I was only able to catch the tail end of the church service but what followed next was one of the more moving experiences of my life.

Those in attendance were asked to form a cordon of honor from the door of the church to the hearse as is apparently customary.  Of course there were the Marines in their dress blues.  There were veterans of all shapes, sizes and ages.  And there were civilians, men, women and children.  And interspersed throughout were numerous members of the Patriot Guard Riders in their iconic biker garb and holding the flag of their beloved country.  People were chatting quietly and sometimes uncomfortably as they are wont to do on such a solemn occasion.  As the casket bearing this fallen Marine exited the church the NCOIC of the Marine honor guard escorting him called everyone to attention.  There was not a sound to be heard, except maybe for the creaking of the bones of some of us older vets trying to assume the position once again after so many years.  Then, as the casket, carried by his Marine brothers in arms began its journey down that cordon of honor the NCOIC gave the command to “Present Arms”.  Marines and veterans alike offered a hand salute, while others placed their hands over their hearts.  The distance from the church entrance to the hearse was far, I’d guess close to 75 yards.  Yet everyone held those salutes until the casket reached the hearse and the command was given to “Order Arms”.

I walked out to the parking area where the funeral procession was assembling for the trip to Riverside Memorial Cemetery, a drive of probably close to 40 miles.  Only then did I realize the magnitude of this event.  There were close to 100 Patriot Guard Riders with motorcycles of all makes and models, many bedecked with the American flag, ready to escort this Marine to his final resting place.  They were followed by twice as many cars, all making that drive to honor this young warrior as he is laid to rest.  I would estimate the length of the funeral procession to have been over a mile.

As I watched the final vehicles in the procession depart I chatted briefly with another guy who was standing there.  He had known this young man for most of his life.  And he said he had always wanted to be a Marine, and that he had died doing what he loved to do.  Finally he said “this is how all of our veterans should be honored”.  Amen.

The whole thing was incredibly moving.  If you have never had the opportunity I would recommend going to one, or more.  I hope we never have any more but we all know that’s not the reality of the world we live in today.


Jerry Miller

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Its Free and Its Amazing. It will help you improve your personal and business life.

Posted on: January 9th, 2012 by admin

I am not the greatest “cleaner outer”. I don’t like to throw things away. In this new world of computer technology, its been a God send for me to keep and scan paper documents. Oh I keep other things way too long past their usefulness. Things like my Philadelphia Eagles sweatshirt or the jeans that look like they have two bullseyes at the knees because mine are so bony. Or, I think the guys can appreciate this, all the ties hanging on a hanger in my closet that I haven’t worn in years. I am particularly found of the ones that have little houses on them or the ones with Santa or polar bears. I guess I might qualify to some degree as a hoarder.

In another particular area I am really bad. Books.  Lots of them. Well not just me, my wife too. I did finally get rid of most of my college textbooks. I think I still have that one on an introduction to Philosophy. Why I don’t know. But I did write on the  side in big letters WHY?  There is  something going on in my subconscious.

We decided to make an effort to get rid of books that we just don’t need. So with not much excitement I started the great purge.  I have to say it was somewhat of  a cleansing feeling. Should I just throw them away or give them away? Low and behold there is a place near where I live that sells used books. They take them and then give you a 50%  off  on any purchase that you make. Its some kind of credit system per book  and the books they can’t take they tell you where you can donate them. Good stuff. 

I bet you thought that this is the place I was talking about for all of the help you need. Nope,  you still have to buy books, and then store them. I didn’t want to go back where I just came from in the book storage wars.  Then someone, I don’t remember who, suggested the Public Library!!! What a novel idea. A place where they let you borrow books for free. I thought for sure it would cost something to join but at this point the thought of spending a few dollars to get something new for a few weeks would be worth it. Now I know some of you are thinking… why not a Nook or a Kindle? Not my style. You still have to pay for them and I am old enough to still want the feel of holding the book and leaving it on bed  with a real book marker.  I mean this tech thing can only go so far.

I pulled up in front of the Easton Area Public Library located in downtown Easton, Pa. It looked exactly like it did the last time I was there probably about 20 years ago. Big old stone construction, with a front facade that reminded me of the high school that my parents  went to in the ’30s. Hmm..lots of cars in the parking lot for a Tuesday. Couldn’t go in the front door anymore like when I was 13.  I had to traverse to the back entrance, which was obviously added and very modern looking with its red brick exterior and metal doors.  As I entered, I noticed  security colums that you have to pass through, the kind the department stores have if you try to shoplift anything and all kinds of bells and sirens go off.

Passing through I notice a large counter where customers were signing books out or filling out membership cards. Behind the counter was a  glass enclosed room where there must have been 20 or 30 PCs, all fully occupied with eager patrons surfing the web, note taking, or receiving instructions from staff on what I would guess were the finer points of conducting research.

On my left was a large open area, more like a lounge where there was every kind of magazine and  newspaper; local and national as well as regional.  Again the area was busy but relaxed with several patrons sitting in comfortable looking leather chairs or working at a long table taking notes .

The main area of the library beyond the counter was lined with the “stacks” as I remember calling them, with all of the different categories of  books. But again in a reflection of the techno revolution, there were computers everywhere. They were along the walls, in the common areas and in the corners. Again, almost everyone was occupied. Impressive.

A friendly woman behind the counter ask how she could help me and I told her I wanted to join.  She asked me for some identity and I showed her my driver’s license and she informed me that since I lived in the Easton School District  there was no charge . And since I now belong to the library , I was an automatic member of something called Access Pennsylvania which basically allows me to borrow books from any public library in the Commonwealth. My tax dollars finally at work.

Also I received a pin number and access code so that I could do all of my ordering on line. Pretty cool.

Thought I would walk around a bit and see what else there was to meet my needs.  Do you believe it! Music CDs, Movie CDs, and old VHS tapes.There were audio books to listen in the car and Language Cd’s  to learn a new tongue.

But what was really neat was the childrens’ library. Place was packed with Moms and Tots  for story time.
They also have  pre school time, family story time, toddler time and Mother Goose Time.  Family Place Workshops is a  program that involves children and their caregivers with books, toys and activities and a chance to chat with experts from different community organizations.

Needless to say I was confident in my new relationship with a long lost friend. Can’t wait to get my grandkids involved.

But the whole point  was, could I get what I want?  Not a problem, I was able to check out immediately a new book on what is was like to work at Google in the early days.  I am big into historical biographies and just finished a fascinating book on Lincoln.  Occasionally I will read some fiction and there are about a zillion possibilities. If a book is on reserve for you, they notify you by email and hold it for 3 days at a cost of …are you ready, 25 cents. Give me a break. You can keep it  for 2 weeks. If its not on hold you keep it for 3 weeks. You can also renew if no one else has it on hold.

The only draw back is if you are a highlighter or like to write in the margins, you can’t do that. My suggestion after the first read through, if you feel like it was  noteworthy,  go and buy it and then mark it up. And by the way, a couple of times a year they have book sales so you can buy used hard covers for a buck or paperbacks for 50 cents.

Anyway, what a wonderful resource. So if you are looking to save money, conserve natural resources, and have more options than you can imagine to benefit  you, your family, your career or your  down time, run, don’t walk to the public library.  If you are like me, you’re probably overdue.

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And life goes on.

Posted on: December 11th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Sam and Gloria on the left Chuck and Mary Anne on the right


I met Chuck on the first day as a freshman. He was down the hall and his roommate wasn’t due in until later in the week. We met in the hallway. He was from South Philly and West Catholic Boys High School. I was from Easton Area High School, Pa. with a class of about 600. My roommate Ron, was from Great Bend, Pa. and a small high school  of about 50 in his graduating class. Ron and I were History majors while Chuck was Pre Med. We made that traditional small talk and goofy introductions that guys are so uncomfortable with. Not knowing what the next couple of days of orientation would bring, we decided to take a walk down town and look around. Scranton that night was pretty much what I had thought. Old and dark with a somewhat sulphur smell that came from the underground burning culm(coal waste) piles that surrounded the area from its heyday as a churning anthracite exporting area. The tour didn’t last long and we turned back to our dorm for that first night at The University of Scranton.
I felt lucky that I was there. I was an okay student but certainly no merit scholar. I think my Catholic background and a pretty good recommendation from my senior English teacher, Mr. Owens, got me over the admission hurdle. My two new friends were a different story. Ron was a serious honor student and capitan of the high school track team and Chuck was on a full  4 year  Army ROTC  scholarship. Ron came from a great family; mother, father and two brothers who would eventually attend the University.  Ron’s parents would come down on visiting days and shower us with all kinds of home made food which Ron always shared with other dorm members. We were an all boys school in those days and out of a student population of 2000  there were only about 400 of us who lived in the dorms. So food from home was like…well…food from home. Chuck and I came from similar backgrounds; single mothers trying to raise two sons.
If I learned anything from those two guys that first year it was how to study. I mean for God’s sake Chuck and Ron even had calendars and times during the day when they were going to study. Do you believe it. I never got that systematized but I did get in a routine to keep from flunking out. If there was anything I contributed to the trio it was how to loosen up. Things like … smoking Marlboros, drinking beer, sleeping late, cutting class and other diversions.  And by the way, I am a great dancer. I got that from the crowd I hung around with in high school  listening to that great Motown music. If there was anyway I was going to get a lady in high school, I had to dance. My wife Gloria is a terrific dancer, so if I was going to nab her,  I had to learn how to jitterbug. Gloria and I were pretty steady all through college, except for one summer when we split up.
Chuck and I hit it  off right away and though I roomed with Ron another year, Chuck and I pretty much were inseparable. The skinny, mouthy kid from Easton and the scrappy,  hot headed Philly guy who played intramural basketball and pinochle like we were at war with a vicious enemy.  There were times because I missed a shot or blew a hand that he wouldn’t talk to me for hours.  But that’s Chuck and he’s still is one of my best friends.
What absolutely drove me nuts were his girl friends. From the outset at Scranton, the guy had a harem. We would go down to the student center to check our mailbox and most of us would pull class schedules, bills, Sports Illustrated and maybe a letter from mom. But not Chuck, he usually had a 2 or 3 inch stack of letters from all of his girlfriends back home who couldn’t wait for him to go back to Philly or invite one of them up for a long weekend. The rest of us spent our days dodging the Jesuit resident priests who lived in our dorms so that we could sneak the beers, play our music real loud or go raid one of our sister colleges late at night. But Chuck was Mr. Cool and Calm and would truck on home to Philly and come back always with that stupid smirk on his face that he was the king.
Well I think it was the summer between freshman and sophomore year that he met Mary Anne. Mary Anne had Chuck’s number. He became awe struck.  She was blond and thin and at one time was going to be a nun. Well the change was dramatic in Chuck. It was Mary Anne this and Mary Anne that. And “I hope she comes to visit or I hope I can see her when I go home.” It was pathetic. He was smitten.  But that was a good thing. It was nice to see him  frustrated  like the rest of us once in awhile.  She led him around like one of his chemistry professors, but it was obvious that they loved each other.
Junior year Chuck became our class president. This was momentous in that it was one of the few times that a resident student led the class. The class ahead of us left us $1500. When Chuck left office at the end of the year, we were in the hole $1500. Just because our class  government was made up of a cabinet of mostly guys from our dorm, we didn’t think it had anything to do with  being fiscally irresponsible . But we had the best dances, the best pep rallies, the best concerts and the best looking women at all of our functions. Mary Anne was always inside  Chuck’s head to make sure that things never got totally out of control.
Senior year was getting ready for the real world. Most of us had campus jobs to make a few bucks. Gloria and I got married in January and Chuck and Mary Anne planned their wedding for that June.
Chuck got accepted into a PhD program at the University of  West Virgina to study Genetics and I went off to  Penn State for a graduate degree in Public Administration. In both our cases our wives worked to put us through. Chuck had been commissioned in the Army at Scranton but was delayed because of  graduate school. I got my Army Commission at Penn State and they put me right into a reserve unit. After Chuck received his PhD they left for active duty in the Army and they spent the next 25 years bouncing around the globe.
We always stayed in touch. They adopted 2 boys and  lived in Hawaii, Texas, Germany and a few other places I don’t remember. It was always Mary Anne that kept them grounded. Big hot shot Army Colonel with the PhD. But she would tell him to take out the garbage. When he was off giving some report to Army brass on secret lab stuff, she would be home making sure those kids were on the straight and narrow. I remember after they retired how Mary Anne went home to Chuck’s mother to help her care for Chuck’s stepfather who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Never complaining, just doing it. She could make me laugh. We were visiting them in their new home in North Carolina  and he was going to start cooking on a new grille. He was staring at it, like he didn’t have a clue on how to start it, when she looked at him and said “For God’s sake Watson, start the freakin thing”.  She finally looked at me and told me to help him before he blew the thing up  and us along with it.
About 2 years ago Mary Anne was diagnosed with lung cancer. Never smoked a day in her life. I remember when Chuck called to give us the news. Gloria and I hoped and prayed for that miracle. We called and spoke on the phone frequently. She sounded tired. This past June, The University of Scranton class of 1971 had its 40th reunion. We had a great turnout.
Chuck and Mary Anne flew in and the four of us stayed at the same motel a few miles outside of Scranton. She walked a little slow with a cane and wore a wig but other than that I thought she looked okay. During one of the events, she grew a little tired and ask If I would take her back to the motel so she could rest. Since we rode into town together I told Chuck to hang with our friends  and I would take her back. When I dropped her off and walked her to her room, she looked at me and said “Sam you are one of  Chuck’s best friends, please keep in touch with him.”
After the reunion they came home to our house to stay the night before heading to Philly and flying home. Later that summer we had one more chance to get together with them and another classmate and his wife. We met at the shore and had a nice dinner. It struck me at that meeting how frail she looked but still had that sparkle in her eye. I really felt that it might be the last time we would see Mary Anne.
About two months ago, Chuck called to say that he was retiring from his latest job  to spend as much  time as he could with Mary Anne. He was even learning how to cook. When I asked to speak to her, he said she was too tired and had to beg off.  I hung up the phone and  didn’t have to say anything to Gloria. She  already knew it wasn’t good.
Mary Anne died last week. When I talked to Chuck he said the service would be one of celebrating Mary Anne’s life.
We went this past Wednesday. It was in the same church that they were married in. As I looked at this lady who had such a significant impact on my friend’s life, I could only think about the good things that happen to him because of her. Wife of 40 years, companion and advisor, mother of his two sons, sometimes comedian, caregiver and of course, one of our life long friends. If Mary Anne had a legacy it’s that she didn’t need one. She exemplified the fact that the celebration of  one’s life can be as normal as the rising and setting sun. Rest in peace Mary Anne, rest in peace. I’ll be calling Chuck tonight.


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Thanks Nick

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Nick is my son. He’s a geek, a computer engineer. He is also a husband and the father of my two grandkids. He is always bailing me out of a computer mess. Never complains, just tells me to drop it off and fixes it. Nick is also an Air Force Veteran. He was on active duty for 4 years as an Avionics Expert. He worked on the flight control systems in the cockpit of F-15 fighters. During one of his duty stations, his mother and I got to visit him at Eglin Air Base in the panhandle of Florida. He was working in a test wing where the Air Force played around with new types of aircraft. We were allowed to visit his work place. What struck us as we entered the huge hangar was that the place was overrun by a bunch of kids!!!
19 and 20-year-old kids ! They all wore the Air Force uniform and different color web belts to designate their specialty for working on these $40 million dollar airplanes. Gloria and I looked at each other and thought…. Kids for Gods sake. Then the pilots came out for the flights and kids again. Maybe a couple of years older but still kids. As I looked with admiration at this group of fine young adults, oh and by the way there were girl kids there too working on the airplanes, I thought to myself how proud we were and how proud his grandparents would be of him and his brother and sister “kids” working for their country.  His grandparents were kids once too. My father Carmen, WWII veteran,  a tanker who fought in North Africa and Italy and who was wounded twice. Or Gloria’s dad, Cliff, a machine gunner with the Big Red One who won the bronze star on the beach of Normandy on that fateful June day in 1944. Or my friend Bob who was with the 101 Airborne at Firebase Rip Cord during the Viet Nam war.  Or those thousands of Americans buried at the American cemetery at Normandy that I was so blessed to visit with my friend Bob a few years ago. Or two of my best friends from college who just retired as Lt. Colonels in the US Army.Or those crazy helicopter pilots that I served with in the Army Reserve. Viet Nam Vets who just loved to fly. For whatever reason they would fly over Harrisburg during our “2 weeks” training and buzz the Capitol.  I went along for a few rides as observer. All I remember is they would  tell me to ignore the red warning light on the instrument panel because they had everything under control. Or those “kids'” who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. All those “kids”  who served and are serving so I have the privilege of getting up and going to work everyday in the greatest country in the world. They keep me and those that I love safe and secure. Memorial day weekend is here. So thanks  Nick… and Bob… and Chuck and Jerry and Steve and Joan and ……….


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