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Borderlines: Sketches from the Empty Quarter: Veterans Day


By GK Harkness

November 8, 2023

History, if we allow it to reside within us, keeps alive the people and places that brought us life and made us what we are. 78 years ago in 1944, my father, CW Harkness, took leave of his wife and children, sold his business, paid off his debts, volunteered for the Marines and went to war.

Today I read his letters home to family from the Pacific Theater. As I absorbed their content, his personal history carried me into a time and place that shines so much brighter than the present ... and I had to pause ... only to realize later that the past is always with us when we embrace the sacrifices of the Veterans in our lives.

Thanks, Dad. To you, and all the other men and women who, without hesitation, walked away from everything dear to them, to put themselves in peril to preserve the future for the rest of us. The sun came up today in an America much different from yours, and many in it are unhappy about our recent elections, but without the sacrifice of you and your brothers and sisters in arms … we would not have had any choices at all. Thanks to all who ever served, we do not live in the Third Reich, the Empire of the Rising Sun, the Soviet States of America or an Islamic Caliphate.

Most of us today have no idea of the full cost of our freedoms … and seldom appreciate it as much as we should … but you and all the others like you were willing to give everything to hold it in trust for us.

So once again, thanks to one and all who wore the colors and stood in harm’s way to give the rest of us a chance to make our own history. You did your best to leave us a better world. You won’t be forgotten.

Semper Fi, Dad. You walked the talk.