My father was on a destroyer escort that provided submarine protection for the cruisers and battleships that were bombarding Omaha Beach on D-Day. As a reservist, he was called up again for the Inchon landings in Korea. We just got his high-school diploma as part of a program President Bush signed to recognize the WW2 veterans who enlisted before completing high school (as often happened).
His father was on an amphibious assault ship in the pacific (at the same time) where he got to do the Guadalcanal / Iwo Jima / etc... island-hopping tour all the way to Japan. As a landing boat coxswain he earned 2 silver stars, 1 bronze star, and multiple purple hearts and was in Tokyo harbor when the surrender was signed.
Since neither of them are still with us, I was showing my kids pictures and the document my grandfather got for attending the surrender a few weeks ago. Greatest generation, indeed.
My older sister was in the Army (every family's gotta have one) and worked at the treatment / rehab center in San Francisco where the seriously injured troops from Vietnam were treated.
Maybe it's growing up around all that (the son and grandson of CPOs) that gave me my particular point of view on these things. God bless the ones that fell on duty, the ones that came home and have left us, and the ones that are still here with us.