Cadets in Seattle University's R.O.T.C. program pay their respects to alumni who lost their lives in service to their country at a ceremony on the Friday before Memorial Day. You can share your words of gratitude with our veterans by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey Corr of Marketing Communications shared these words that he wrote for the editorial
page of The Seattle Times in 1999 to pay tribute to his parents, both
veterans of WWII, by focusing on a garment issued to a young Navy pilot, his dad:
Wearing the past. It's now 56 years old, issued to my father when he won his wings as a Navy aviator. It spent years in a closet till I started wearing it at age 14. Though the leather has been scuffed and the collar, lining, fringe and zipper have been replaced, I feel a little thrill every time I wear the jacket.
To me, it represents the courage of the men who went off to war, the battles they won, and later, the enormous transformations in their lives and in society. Like thousands of other service men and women, the war brought my father to Seattle, where he decided to stay after meeting a Navy nurse at the Sand Point Officers Club.
Theirs was a generation that spent childhood in the Depression and young adulthood in combat. As they settled, they sought to prove themselves as citizens of a great democracy, transforming cities and suburbs with homes, malls and freeways. They expanded our schools and universities. They built the world's strongest economy. They busted through antique attitudes about race and gender, art and literature, and injected new ideas into government and culture.
They put clothes on our back, food in our guts,
honor and values in our lives. We owe them big time.