November 11 is Veterans Day, honoring those who served in the United States Armed Forces. It commemorates the end of major combat on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (11:00 AM Paris time on November 11, 1918), in what we now call World War I. These days, Veterans Day is almost a forgotten holiday, just another day when we do not get mail or stores have yet another sale. Fortunately, many schools are starting to hold Veterans Day programs to honor those who served. Without our veterans, we would not be where we are today.
Both of my grandfathers served during World War II, one in the Marines and the other in the Navy. Here are a few photos of the Marine uniform coat that belonged to my Marine grandfather. When I was growing up, this coat was always kept in a closet at my grandparents’ house, but I only remember seeing it one time when my grandmother took it out to show us grandchildren. Not that there was any shame with it, but rather it was as if it were not all that important.
My grandfather received a few ribbons, along with a medal for the Asiatic Pacific Campaign. He also received a Purple Heart for being wounded in combat, but that medal was not on his jacket. He did not receive the actual Purple Heart medal, and he was not interested enough in it to try to pursue it. However, a family friend presented a medal to my grandmother after hearing that story at my grandfather’s funeral.
My grandfather was a sergeant in the 6th Marine Division, serving in the Pacific, as you can tell by the patch and stripes on his sleeve. Neither of my grandfathers talked much about the war or their time in the service. I would imagine that they had some interesting stories to tell, but they chose to keep those to themselves and put all of that behind them, except on a few rare occasions. I can’t say that I blame them. Many of those who served in the war looked at it as simply doing their duty and nothing more. What a great attitude of humility to have as servants.
This patch on the coat indicates that my grandfather received an honorable discharge. And with that, his military career ended, and he resumed his civilian life, serving as a husband, father, grandfather, worker, and church elder. I think he much preferred that life to the Marine life, but I also think he was proud to have done his duty and served his country.
Remember to be thankful for those who have served, giving at least a portion of their lives to protect us and our freedoms, whether it is the Veterans Day holiday or any other time during the year.
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter. - 2 Timothy 2:3-4
About the photo:
These photos are a bit of a departure from what I usually share here. These photos did not receive any processing at all. Except for resizing and adding the Burnsland logo, I did nothing at all to them. They are exactly as they were straight out of the camera. As you may know, I do like to process my photos and give them an interesting look. However, to me, these photos looked just right just as they were, and that look also fits well with the tone of the Veterans Day holiday. So I left them like they were.
For these photos, I used a 25mm prime lens, which I chose for two reasons. First, I wanted to get the bokeh effect, adding depth to the photos while focusing on the key elements. And second, I wanted to be able to use the natural light in the room. This was possible with the prime lens opened up wide to f/1.8. I did use a tripod because there was still not that much natural light in the room and because I did not want to turn the ISO up high and create a lot of photo noise. It took a little longer to set up the tripod, but not too much. It was worth the extra time to get some nice, sharp photos.
Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus M.Zukio 25mm f1.8
Date: November 9, 2017
Location: Our house