PHIL IN THE BLANK: Memories of service

I recently joined a Facebook group, “Desert Storm photos,” where people post their old snapshots from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq during Desert Shield and Desert Storm back in the ’90s.
I posted one of me as an E-4 Army soldier on latrine duty, which involved filling a half barrel we had been using as a toilet with diesel fuel and lighting it on fire. It was a big hit.
Others posted photos of themselves on a cruise ship near Bahrain, which was apparently available at some point for some R&R. These usually prompt comments from others who were stuck in the sand the whole time, usually Marines.
Some pictures were posted by children of Desert Storm veterans, because the vets have passed away. I’m glad they were let in the group, giving them a chance to see what kinds of things their dads and moms were up to back then.
It’s in thinking of those veterans all about my age who have passed away that I congratulate the American Legion Post 63 for another successful and well-attended Memorial Day Service. The annual march and ceremony give folks the opportunity to observe the holiday with all the respect it deserves before kicking off the summer with hot dogs, hamburgers, and a dip in the pool or lake.
I very much appreciated the hard work by the young people during the march and ceremony, including the Clarkston High School Marching Band and speakers from Clarkston Junior High School – Mackensie Fazckas, Olivia Richie, and Elecia Curtis.
Especially moving were the thoughts on Memorial Day by Major Jaime Breckenridge of Clarkston. Memorial Day is more personal for him than many, having lost friends in combat overseas.
The American Legion also makes it a part of the service every year to call on veterans from the crowd to line up for recognition. I get up there with the other guys and gals for a handshake, salute, and medal if you didn’t already have one from the Post 63 legionnaires.
Major Breckenridge was up there, too, but he was one of the ones delivering salutes and medals. I let the commissioned officer salute me first, which seems off for a former enlisted man like me. I’m very honored he did so, though.

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