My grandfather, Ray Wolfe, was 21 years old in 1917, a farmer from tiny Lost Nation, Iowa, who was drafted into the Navy as the United States prepared for war with Germany. He didn’t go overseas—he was stationed at the Great Lakes, instead—but he served. I admire that.
My sister Bridget served, as well. She was not quite 23 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and, as a newly commissioned officer, she volunteered to go. She also served in Bosnia and, most recently, during the initial invasion of Iraq. She volunteered for this last tour, as well, and I admire that even more.
My grandfather’s brother Melvin was a Marine in the 1920s and 1930s who saw action in Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Shanghai. My grandmother had twin brothers who fought in Europe during the Great War. A cousin was decorated at Pearl Harbor, and an older, more distant relative may have been an Iowa cavalryman in the Civil War.
My mom’s oldest brother fought in Europe during the Second World War, and I have a cousin who just joined the Marines.
Today’s a day for sunshine and brats. But I’ll be thinking of them and their service, too.
PREVIOUSLY: A great picture of Ray and his family
IMAGE: My grandfather’s World War I draft card