Sergeant Robert Lloyd Darrall served with the United States Army from around August 1951 to February 1954. Sergeant Darrall served in Korea during the Korean War from September 1951 to June 1953. He was with the 32nd Engineer Construction Group in support of the 8th Army. During his time in Korea, Sergeant Darrall went from Private to Sergeant in 18 months. Upon his return to the States, Sergeant Darrall joined the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne.
Robert is husband to Bernice, father of Mark, Roberta, and Steven, and grandfather of Jonathon, Kevin, and Emily.
Specialist Michael Edward Zerbee served with the United States Army Reserve from 1974 to 1980. Specialist Zerbee served with the 339th Field Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Specialist Zerbee's classification was 91 C, or a Practical Nurse. Specialist Zerbee's civilian career was also spent as a nurse, working for many years for the State of Pennsylvania.
Mike is husband to Mary, father of Michael and Linda, and grandfather of Katerina and Lillian.
Captain Michael Anthony Zerbee currently serves with the 911 Aeromedical Staging Squadron in the Air Force Nurse Corps, based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Captain Zerbee has served with the United States military since 1989. Michael joined the United States Army then, serving in Turkey from 1990 to 1991 as a Private First Class with the 21st USAFAD (United States Army Field Artillery Detachment). PFC Zerbee's classification was 31C, or Radio/Satellite Communications Operator.
Upon his return to the States from Turkey, Michael served as a SPEC 4 with the 3rd Air Defense Artillery in Fort Polk, Louisiana. After a 2-year furlough, Michael joined the Army Reserves in 1994. Serving with the 403rd Replacement Company in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Michael was promoted to Sergeant in 1997. Michael served as a 31C and later as an Admin Specialist (75H).
Beginning in 2001, Sergeant Zerbee served as a Field Medic (91B) with the 1st Battalion/103rd Armor unit of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In April of this year Michael joined the Air Force Nurse Corps as Captain. Throughout his military career, Michael has been stationed around the world, from Turkey, to Germany, to Louisiana, to Punxsutawney. Michael comes from a long line of military men; his grandfather Leo served in World War II, and his father Mike served with the Army Reserves.
It's funny, you know. Every year, for the past, I don't know, let's say 5 years, on Veterans' Day, I've sent these three men an e-mail. Just to say 'thank you', for having such courage as to serve the country as members of the armed forces. So when this time was rolling around again this year I thought to myself, 'hey, since I've got this blog up and running, I can finally show them just how much what they've done means to me- I can finally do them justice." And I've realized, as I've been typing all this to post, there is NO WAY I can ever properly tell them. How do words compare with the fact that these men were willing to literally put their lives on the line- it didn't matter the time or the place. And it's not just them- it's millions of others, men and women, from across all walks of life. How do you show your appreciation for that? 'Thanks'?
That's the thing- did any of these men- and I'll just talk about them for now, since I know them best, but I think this would be true of many if not all of the veterans among us- did any of them do this for thanks? Did they do it for some kind of gain? Was there some kind of profit to be had? Of course not. They did it because they love their country. They did it because it was the right thing to do. How many of us can say we would do the same? How many of us, when our country called on them to go halfway around the world, to deal with blistering heat and unforgiving cold, to patiently suffer the insults and hurts of people who don't understand our country and our way of life, to fight and maybe die on behalf of people who could not fight for themselves- how many of us would say yes?
Look around you- millions have.
People claim there are no heroes today. That all our children have for idols are thugs and spoiled brats and liars and killers. That they have no one to look up to.
They are wrong.
We have heroes everywhere- they walk among us and we call them Father, Brother, Mother, Sister, Friend; we call them Private, Seaman, Sergeant, Airman, Captain, Colonel...
We call them Patriots.
We call them Veterans.
So- Dad, Mike, Michael- I don't know if you'll ever understand how much I respect and admire you for your bravery. I don't know if these rambling words, with these drawings I've done, can possibly show everyone how proud I am to know you and how much your strength and courage inspire me. I don't know if I can ever thank you enough for all you've done for our country.
But I'll keep trying.
"Freedom is not free." - Quote on the Korean War Memorial