A very special thank you to all of the men and women who have served our country with honors. Today is Veterans Day, and I am reminded of the poem “Freedom is not Free” by Ashley Persyn:
There is a price we pay for freedom
For it is not truly free
But rather paid for by the contributions of veterans
To buy our liberty.
The photo above is of Blake Miller. It is one of the most famous pictures from the Iraq War and was taken by 1982 UW alum Luis Sinco. Watch this video from the Los Angeles Times on what came to be known as the “The Marlboro Marine.”
I ran a quick search of UWalum.com for “veterans” and am excited to share a few stories from our Columns archives. Thank you, veterans.
- Healing wounds, March 2008: A UW alum tells his tale from the Vietnam War. He served as a dentist with a mobile construction battalion attached to the 3rd Marine Division. He says, ”My dental training did not necessarily prepare me for treating the wounded in a helicopter; but you did what you could and quickly learned.”
- Pappy Boyington—Our Black Sheep Hero, Dec. 1998: There aren’t many UW alums who win the Medal of Honor, write a best-selling book and have Robert Conrad portray them in a TV series. But that’s World War II Fighter Pilot Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a 1934 engineering graduate who shot down 28 enemy planes as a Marine pilot.
- The Caretaker, Dec. 2009: Days after 24-year-old Army Lt. Robert Leisy wrote a letter home to his parents, he used his body to shield his fellow soldiers from a North Vietnamese grenade. They survived. Leisy did not. A look at the UW alum who made the ultimate sacrifice—in his own words.
- Final Honors, Dec. 2005: The military officials who ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps never could have imagined that William Kenzo Nakamura would earn the nation’s highest military award—the Medal of Honor. Unfortunately, it took the U.S. 56 years to recognize Nakamura’s heroic deeds after he died in combat.
- Emanuel “Sonny” Marks, June 2005: On the morning of June 6, 1944, Marks went down a rope ladder into neck-deep water off Utah Beach, then waded ashore while two German fighter planes strafed the sand. Battling severe seasickness from the rough passage across the English Channel, he and his regiment marched inland and helped secure the city of Ste. Mere Eglise.
- Recognizing heroes, Sept. 2009: On Veterans Day 2009, the UW dedicated a Medal of Honor memorial, recognizing eight alumni recipients of the nation’s highest award for military valor. The UW has the largest number of awardees outside of the service academies.
Photo by Luis Sinco.