My grandfather was a 27 year old First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps when he was selected to model in a WWII Marine recruitment campaign. I feel extremely fortunate to have known him well and, now as an adult, I have come to better understand, and greatly respect, the service he gave to our country while serving in the military.
Bubba, as his grandchildren nicknamed him, served as a young officer in Samoa and Guadalcanal, but in my fond memories, decades after he proudly served his country, he was a passionate nature lover. Through our beach walks, he instilled in me a deep love for the outdoors, a love that serves me well today as the director of communications for the National Park Foundation. Moreover, he taught me the importance of stewardship of these special places. I watched as he volunteered his time and gave generously to ensure that the places he loved would be there not only for me and his other 9 grandchildren to enjoy, but for his grandchildren’s grandchildren to experience and appreciate, as well.
I feel truly blessed to have inherited an understanding of how important it is for each and every one of us to support and protect the 84 million acres of national park lands that we all own as our birthright. Not only on Veterans Day, but throughout the year, I am grateful to the active duty military and all of our country’s veterans who have served, and continue to serve, to make our way of life in this beautiful country possible.