My dad joined the Army right out of high school so he was only 19 or 20 years old when this picture was taken. It's much easier to see how young he is in this picture of him partying like it's 1962! What? You thought that only the Mad Men did this?
He's the geeky one in the glasses on the left.
My dad went on to spend 20 years of his life in the Army. To say that this 20 years shaped his entire life would be an understatement.
He met, knocked up and married my mother in Germany. After a tour in Korea and another in Viet Nam (maybe two) my parents divorced. I spent the next 10 years being shipped back and forth between the two.
While stationed at Ft. Bliss (El Paso, TX), my dad, a Chief Warrant Officer, met his next wife who was married to a Lt. Colonel at the time. This didn't go over well with the Army establishment who issued him a dis-honorable discharge. He immediately re-enlisted as a Sergeant to preserve his retirement. He spent the rest of his 20 year career as an Army recruiter.
At the ripe old age of 38, with 20 years of service, my father retired from the military. He worked on and off at various jobs since then. For the last 20 years or so he's been living in the wilds of Washington and Oregon working as a ranch hand and guiding outdoorsmen. He loves to hunt and fish so this has suited him well.
I don't think my dad has ever expressed any regret for joining the Army and putting in his 20 years of service. It hasn't all been good; Viet Nam left him with issues - drug usage is a main one. Who knows what his life would have been like had he never joined the Army - I know I wouldn't be here. I do know that he's enjoyed the freedom that retiring at 38 with a pension can bring.
The men and women serving in our armed forces work hard and risk their lives to protect us and others around the world. Today we honor their efforts. Try to remember that when you are just goofing around on your day off.