So Veterans Day is Nov. 11. Actually the day before, Nov. 10, is the Marine Corps’ birthday, having being appropriately founded at Tun Tavern Philadelphia 241 years ago.

Now, my father was born on Nov. 11 and he had five older sisters, so every year they would take him to the parade and tell him the parade was for his birthday. He said the worst day of his life was not when he found out there was no Easter Bunny.

So my three beautiful granddaughters had a program at the chapel of their school to honor veterans on Nov. 11 and they asked me to attend as a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran. Of course I was most honored, but I was taken aback somewhat when they asked me to make a few comments, so here’s what I said.

“I’m at a loss, I don’t know what to tell you about war, but I do know, no matter who you are or your country or your religion, all people want the same for their children. Vietnam was colonized, for better or worse, by the French. We flew helicopters and close to our base was an orphanage run by French nuns. We were strictly forbidden to do this kind of thing but when we could, we would land at the orphanage and give candy to the children and even take them for helicopter rides, even more strictly forbidden. But what were they going to do? Cut off our hair and send us to Vietnam?

One day we landed and a little boy ran up to me and grabbed my leg with his only arm and I picked him up and held him as tightly as he held me, his nose was runny and he kissed me and I kissed him back..

I don’t know why God let me come home and not others, but if it was to shed some dim ray of light into these young girl’s lives, that is all I want.”

Your friend,

Capt. Gill