On this Veteran's Day, I think of my late Granddad, Gerald Francis Zubrod.
Jerry served in the US Navy on the USS Washington during World War II. His military service completely changed his family tree. Raised in rural Iowa, he saw opportunity on many levels via the military, opportunities he struggled to see in his childhood. After the war, he took his GI Bill funding and became the first member of his family to graduate from college (the University of Washington). In some ways I learned about God before I ever cognitively knew God. When we gathered many a Saturday to watch the Washington Huskies play football, Granddad would sometimes share stories about Iowa, the University of Washington, and his time in the Navy. I learned about possibility and opportunity when we gathered together. When I learned about the Parable of the Talents later in life, I saw that gifts are powerfully linked to a generous God. We are called upon to trust that the gifts God gives us to also be generous in God's name in the world.
Learning and growing and seeing possibilities became a way of life for my brothers, and Granddad was a huge influence. It's a mixed bag for military vets. Sometimes the family tree makes an abrupt end in military service, sometimes it grows and flourishes, sometimes the pain of what is experienced and seen become a weight too difficult to bear. May there be healing and thankfulness in all the veterans remembered today, and even for the veterans not remembered, for even in their anonymity does their service deserved to be remembered.