Veterans day in my family is something special for sure. Service is something that is special and common amongst the members of my family aswell. For generations past, my family has been in just about every branch from the Navy to the Coast Guard, and also the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
For as many generations as we can look back, the Aldens, my mom's dad's side of the family, has served in the Navy. My great-grandfather met my great-grandmother while stationed in Bermuda, and they had my Grandfather. He joined the Navy where he met my Grandmother who was also in the intelligence department of the Navy, stationed on Church Street in NYC. Her father was in the US Army during the first World War. He drove munitions and supplies up to the front at night, and drove back during the day. When he came home, he believed he had used up all of his luck driving during the war and never drove again.
Their third daughter, Mary, enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school. She then proceeded to go to college in Philadelphia and earned her degree. She became a lab tech and was ultimately stationed at McGuire AFB in Wrightstown, NJ. There she met USAF Captain Ed States. He had gone to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Ed was a pilot who flew C-141s at McGuire. The two of them got married a few years later and had me.
Ever since I was a young lad, I have wanted to join the military and continue the tradition that was started many generations before me, and here at Elmira I am getting that opportunity. I joined the AFROTC Det. 520 at Cornell University in September, and on Sunday I marched in my first Veterans Day parade. It was an experience that I found to be sort of emotional. For years and years now my family has marched, led, organized, or attended parades on Veterans Day, and now it is my turn and I feel blessed for the opportunity to do so.
Aside from my family members listed above, I have had a cousin in the Coast Guard, an Uncle in the Marines, a cousin who is a cadet in the US Army battalion at JMU, and a grandfather in the Army. Veterans day is a very important holiday in our family, and it is something that we take with great pride.