My Mom wrote this heartfelt letter to Dad in honor of Veteran’s Day. We are so grateful for his (and every soldier’s) service to our country. We love you so much, Dad, and deeply appreciate what you have done (and continue to do) as you defend our freedom.
Veteran’s Day—Monday, Nov. 11, 2013– (originally Armistice Day)–ultimately expanded to include the recognition and celebration of all military veterans. It is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is the set aside to remember those individuals who died while serving their country.
On this Veteran’s Day, our family would like to express sincere gratitude to all those men and women (past or present) for their military service. We expressly remember and honor the heroism and sacrifice of so many brave Americans who were either killed or wounded while in the service of our country.
Today, our family reflects on the overall strength and dedication of so many individuals who presently serve or who have served, at some point, in our armed forces. A few of our family members who immediately come to mind include: my dad (USN, 1946-1948–post World War II and USAF, 1949-1953-incl. Korean War, Pacific); my father-in-law (USN, 1944—1945-World War II-combat, Pacific); great-uncle (US Army, World War II-incl. Normandy Invasion, 1944); my brother (USAF, 1972-1976); finally, my husband (USN, 1972-1975-Pacific, and also, Army National Guard-TX-1987-present).
Without undermining the service or sacrifice of other brave Americans, our family would like to extend our thanks to SFC Lloyd E. Tilbury (husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather) for his many years of service to his country. He will retire, Lord willing, in a few short months (2014) after a combined total of thirty-one years of military service. Those of us who know him so well are reminded of his personal humility; he has never sought any special recognition for himself. However, we would like to publicly acknowledge our appreciation to him for his many accomplishments and sacrifices.
Tribute/Letter to SFC Lloyd E. Tilbury
Dear Lloyd, Dad, and Granddad,
We want to congratulate you on your upcoming retirement (2014) after completing thirty-one combined years of service. Enduring so many (military) separations over the years has not been particularly easy. Whether it was monthly drills or annual camps (often involving weeks of overseas travel), we always greatly missed you. Some of us vividly remember the many days you spent away from us during the Red River flooding in Texas in 1991. We further recall those forty-five days that you and your unit assisted the victims of Hurricane Ike (2008) in East Texas. Yet we were never as proud as when you served that entire year (2005-2006) in Iraq and Kuwait on the Operation Iraqi Freedom mission. Although not directly involved in combat, you, along with your fellow troops, provided much needed expertise within the support and maintenance units. We also knew that your compound had been mortared by the Iraqis; you were subsequently transferred to a “safer” location within Iraq. However, despite your final move to Kuwait, we were keenly aware of the potential dangers you faced in that part of the world. Furthermore, it must have been really tough for a fifty-one year-old man to live in desert tents for months at a time with little or no privacy. Enduring daytime temperatures that often soared to over 130 degrees must have been extremely difficult for you.
Yet despite such hardships, God provided for all of us, and we are eternally grateful to Him for His blessings. We continue to pray earnestly for the peace and safety of all those brave men and women, who faithfully carry out their duties every day. All branches of the military (full-time Armed Services, the Reserves, and the National Guard) operate together, helping to maintain our freedom and providing assistance for all Americans. So, on this Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013, we honor all veterans, including you, SFC Lloyd E. Tilbury. We thank you for your service, and we love you dearly.
Jeannie, Kristen, Kaitlin, Billy, and Faith