Last year I included snippets of a Civil War journal written by William Olcott, my great-great- grandfather who died of starvation at Andersonville following his capture at the Battle of Antietam.
He left more than personal accounts written in impeccable penmanship; he left a sense of pride for the opportunity to serve his country with the ultimate sacrifice.
I salute his memory. May his sense of loyalty be carried out in my own family.
This year I salute my late nephew, 23-year-old Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Johnson, who died nearly a year ago after his Humvee lay submerged upside down in an Iraqi canal.
Courtesy photo Veterans Day, Nov. 11, provides a time salute those who have served the United States of America.
His ultimate diving catch included the many organ recipients he was able to help, and whom we'll never know.
I also salute J.D. Martins, who served for over 18 and a half years in the Army before the horrendous and brutal death of his 13-year-old daughter.
"I had pride in my country," Martins told me.
He'd do it again if he could, he said.
"I'd be pretty proud to go over and die for my country and for those young boys and girls who are over there serving."
Today, he continues serving up generosity at his local senior center.
"I'm here every day volunteering," he said.
"I help serve those who are not physically able," he said. "I also set the tables."
I salute Martin for his willingness to work through his grief and help touch others' lives with compassion.
And finally, I salute Frank Miller, who served in the Korean War.
Like several veterans I've met, Miller didn't want any of the limelight shone upon him - especially when it came to talking about his military service.
"I did what I was told to do," he said.
Miller recently retired from a 12-year commitment as senior center cook.
"Now I'm a veteran of the senior center," he said.
I salute Miller for his humility and for the good he has done in his community.
For all of our nation's veterans, I salute you, too.
Thank you for serving our country.
Judy Halone is member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Copyright (c) 2007 by Judy Halone.