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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. Veterans Day 2003

Chuck says, "I wasn't looking for it, and I'm not sure I was deserving of it, but it sure was nice to be publicly thanked for military service."
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Shopping gone wrong

By Chuck Hinman

I am a Veteran of WW 2. My service was not unusual. My life took a detour for 41 months in September 1942 but that's all it was, a detour. My service time was in the US Army Air Forces, the 20th Air Force, with overseas service on Guam. I never once entertained any idea that my life was being 'put-up-on' by our government's decision to go to war against Japan. To protest, even mildly, never crossed my mind. I was not dumb.

Chuck expected no public celebration when he returned to civilian life

There was no public celebration when I returned to civilian life nor did I expect there to be. No one came up to me, shook my hand and said 'Thanks.' 'The job' was done and the way of life our country had gotten used to expecting was intact. The Star-Spangled Banner "yet waved o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!" Perhaps my nominal sacrifice had something to do with that, I don't know, but, if it did, I didn't feel the need to be thanked, or my small part acknowledged in any way. It went with the area as the saying goes. Everyone contributed without any expectation of public recognition.

I believe that veterans throughout history feel pretty much the same. We are blood-brothers so to speak.

Chuck agrees for friend to submit his name for recognition

Many Armistice (Veterans) Days have passed for me, I am 81 years old. This day never had significance in the way of personal recognition like it did just a few days ago.

Several weeks ago, an email friend of mine in Nebraska said her small church near Lincoln was going to acknowledge on Veterans Day 2003, all veterans with a remembrance BY NAME AND BRANCH OF SERVICE. She wanted to know if I would mind her submitting my name. I acknowledged that it wasn't necessary for me, I didn't consider myself in the same league as her husband, who was my first college roommate and a decorated prisoner of war, but Yes, if she liked, she could submit my name for recognition. At least, they couldn't see me blush!

Chuck is humbled by being publicly recognized

I received an email from her this morning saying that Charles R. Hinman, USAAF, as well as my son, J. Paul Hinman, USAF were honored by our names being 'called out' in the Community Church of Sprague-Martell, Nebraska. We, along with 201 others, were verbally recognized and thanked for our military service. She said there was even a veteran of the War of 1812 recognized at the same time. Good company - eh?

If you think that public personal recognition, -- the first I can remember receiving as a Veteran -- doesn't do something for an old soldier, you are dead wrong! I am profoundly humbled by it! And the fact it was in my birth and childhood state added special meaning!

Many recognition ceremonies in 2003

There must have been an epidemic of similar, very personal recognitions around the country this year.

My place of residence, Tallgrass Estates, had a touching emotional recognition BY NAME of its Veteran residents. It was magnificent and thoughtfully planned. The recognition was made more meaningful by my being pinned (and the other Veterans) with a beautiful red rose boutonni=C3=A8re = with red, white, and blue embellishments! Don't tell me if I'm wrong, but I took the 'red rose' to mean that that someone loves me for some reason -- surely not -- there must be a mistake -- I'm an old man and surely no one notices me, let alone loves me anymore!!!

And can you comprehend my emotional upheaval at something as simple as hearing my name, CHUCK HINMAN, U. S. AIR FORCE*, being called out and thanked after all these years. I hadn't had goose pimples like that since my first kiss!!

Chuck's church has wonderful banquet

Then to climax a very meaningful day, my church, New Harmony Baptist church in the Hogshooter area, honored its Veterans with a wonderful catered banquet! The theme was loud and clear, it was a heartfelt THANK YOU, CHARLES R. HINMAN, USAF*, FOR WHATEVER YOU DID, and certainly not me alone, but all the other Veterans there that night.!!!

The point of my writing is this. I know that these three acknowledgment with a 'thank you' for 'detour' and interruption of my life 61 years ago was not for me alone. It was for all of us Veterans, young and old, women and men, fat and fatter, all nationalities, you name it!

Chuck says 'Thank You' is never inappropriate

I wasn't looking for it, and I'm not sure I was deserving of it, but it sure was nice for an old geezer!

God bless all of those involved in 'making my day' and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

C. R. 'Chuck' Hinman

P.S. One thing I have learned as I grow old.... 'Thank you' is never inappropriate or in bad taste! And when you personalize it by adding a name, you MAKE someone's day! Believe me!

Written by Chuck Hinman as a letter to the Reader's Roundtable, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74003, 12 November 2003.

A note about United States Army Air Forces

*In these two places I have left the words as Chuck wrote them. In other places I have corrected the name to United States Army Air Forces which was renamed United States Air Force after the war. It is very common to see 'veteran of the Air Force' for those whose service ended before that entity officially existed. -RHS

This story was posted on 2014-11-09 09:21:28
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