I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you, trucker or not, that have served in any capacity in our nation’s armed forces. On this day, I especially want to thank those veterans who served during a time of conflict or war to ensure the safety of American citizens and to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
I don’t care what branch you served in, whether you were drafted or joined voluntarily, or even if you never saw the battle field, the fact that you sacrificed your free will to protect mine and that of my family makes you a hero in my book. It does not matter to me in what capacity you served either. Maybe you were a desk clerk, maybe you were infantry, maybe you were a cook, maybe you were special forces. You went through basic, graduated and the armed services trained you and gave you responsibilities that helped to ensure the continued success and functionality of the military as a whole.
I never served in the military but I have many family members who have. My grandfather served in WWII, I have uncles that served in Korea and Vietnam, and I have a cousin that served two tours in Iraq. Since this is a trucking blog, I would like to honor my truck driving, veteran family members today.
First, my uncle Bobby Brown, who served in the US Army in Vietnam. I don’t know much about his service because I’ve rarely heard him speak about it. He became an owner operator after leaving the service and as far as I know, the 1968 White Western Star that you see pictured with him is the only truck he’s ever owned. He bought the truck from a junk yard, rebuilt the whole truck and slowly over the years made it into what you see now. It has the original 290 Cummins engine and although I think it has a 13 speed tranny now, when I was younger, it had a 5×4. For those that don’t know what that is, basically, it had two shifters coming out of the floor board, one 5 speed and one 4 speed. To watch someone shift one of those is like watching a choreographed dance. In other words, he got skills. Uncle Bobby also built his own sleeper and has done all the fiberglass, paint and body work on this truck since day one. He has been retired from trucking for many years now, but still owns the truck and frequently shows up with it at antique truck shows. Thank you Uncle Bobby for your service.
My wife’s cousin Michael Maeker joined the army after high school and served 2 tours in Iraq and received a Purple Heart before starting his trucking career. He started driving for USA Truck and liked his trainer so much, he wound up marrying the guy’s daughter (Hi Erin!). He’s since driven for Arnold Transportation, Marten Transport, and most recently landed a job driving for Wal-Mart out of their Bentonville, AR terminal. Here’s Michael pictured between my wife and I, on one of his visits while passing through. I’d like to think that I had a little bit of influence on his career choice after the military. When Mike was just 8 or 9 years old, I would take him with me for weeks at a time during the summer. That boy ate a many of happy meals sitting on the doghouse of that old ’84 International 9370. I love that young man like my own son. Thank you Michael for your service to our country.
And to all service men and women who have served and continue to serve today, Thank you and God bless.