|Jack Kerouac's 1942 Naval Reserve photo|
Jack later served in the Merchant Marine and served on the S.S. Dorchester when it sailed for Greenland in 1942. Jack used that experience in his novels, Vanity of Duluoz and The Sea is My Brother. The Dorchester was later sunk by a torpedo from a German U-Boat on February 3, 1943, taking 704 American lives.
I'm not a veteran, although I toyed with the idea of enlisting during one particularly disjointed phase of my life. My son, Jason, served for four years in the U.S. Army Airborne, stationed at Fort Bragg the whole time but seeing some deployments in places such as Thailand and Jordan. I'm proud of him for that (I don't think I could ever jump out of an airplane).
I'm not a fan of war, and I oppose killing in general (yes, even the death penalty) - although in self-defense I would not rule it out - and yet I do stand in appreciation of those who put their lives on the line in our military despite our government's generally misguided use of our armed forces in other parts of the world.
It's too bad we need a military. Humans have the capacity to create a world where it's unnecessary, but we choose otherwise. That said, let's take a moment today to remember all the veterans past and present who put their lives on the line in service to others.