This is an insight into war as told to me by veterans I knew or knew of.

“They gave me a motorcycle and a .45 revolver and I delivered mail, dispatches, and messages up and down muddy roads in France. I worked for the U.S. Air Mail Service out of Newark Airport until I retired 30 years later. I met and had my picture taken with Charles Lindbergh.” – Private Robert Rutherford, U.S. Army, France, WW1

“I was at a church social after the war, when a woman asked me how I felt after I killed my first Japanese soldier. I said to her ‘Madam, I was too busy killing the second Jap behind him to think about it.’” – Platoon Sgt. Henry Jackiewicz, U.S. Marine Scout Sniper, South Pacific, WW2

“His supply ship was hit by two torpedoes from a German U-boat. The boat still got to its port because the cargo was waterproof telephone poles. My father never complained about the phone company after the war.” – Fred Goddard Jr., reading the eulogy at the funeral of his dad, Fred Goddard Sr., U.S. Navy, North Atlantic, WW2

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“I was with a cryptology unit when a demolitions sergeant walked into our tent and put a box of C-4 explosives with a plunger on the table. He said to us, ‘If the Germans overrun us, don’t fight them – just fall on this.’ And he walked out of the tent.” – Private Robert E. Rutherford, U.S. Army, Battle of the Bulge, WW2

“It was damned cold!” – PFC Art Battista, U.S. Army, Korea

“My helicopter was hit by ground fire and I was going down. The only place to try for a safe landing was a river that was close by. That is when I got scared; I couldn’t swim!” – Warrant Officer Thomas Stryker, U.S. Army, Vietnam

“I was trained to be a radio man. My first day of action, the helicopter that I was in was hit by ground fire and my radio was shot to pieces. When we landed at the LZ, I told my story to a sergeant who handed me an M60 machine gun and said, ‘You’re a machine gunner now, son.’” – PFC Bernie Sterns, U.S. Army, Vietnam

“I served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Afghanistan. I would prefer if you instead mentioned one of the many other men who made incredibly more sacrifices. My friend, Army SSG Jorge Oliveira, was a Portuguese immigrant who served four overseas deployments and was killed in action in Afghanistan on 19 October 2011.” – New Jersey National Guard Staff Sergeant Jason “Buck” Schriever, U.S. Army, Iraq and Afghanistan

“War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality.” – John McCain, Lieutenant Commander U.S. Navy, POW, and U.S. Senator, Vietnam

This Veterans Day, we salute all who served and all who are still guarding us around the world.

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Tony is a 30 year resident of Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Ramapo College with a degree in American Literature and has his New Jersey Teacher’s Certificate. He also has his MBA in Business from FDU. Tony wrote for AIM and had his own column, "For What It’s Worth," for 9 years. He recently retired after working for 46 years in the corporate world.

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