My ancestors fought in The French & Indian War, The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The Mexican War, The Civil War, The Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, The Korean War, The Vietnam Conflict and served during times of peace.

I’ve always honored these ancestors and their contributions to our country’s service.

However, my two uncles, Garry Jolliff, USA Army in Vietnam and Ronald Barmes, USA Navy, brought me closer to my love for the military.

Each year at the Carillon Historical Park’s Heritage Festival, The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra always performs “The Armed Forces Salute,” a musical medley celebrating each branch of the armed forces.

When we were vacationing in Washington DC in 1968, there were tons of Army soldiers everywhere and I kept my eyes glued, hoping I would catch sight of my uncle Garry. For some reason, I didn’t realize Vietnam was on the other side of the world from where we were.

When I was learning piano one of my first non-lesson book songs was, “Anchors, Aweigh,” which I learned to play for my Uncle Ron.

In June 1987, I lost my Uncle Ron. In June 2002, I lost my Uncle Garry.

Each year at this festival I quietly honor these two much beloved uncles when each of their military branches is represented in the medley.

There is always a little tug at the heart and a few tears in my eyes, grateful for their service, but more importantly, a blessed feeling that these two men were my uncles.

My uncle, Garry Jolliff, USA Army

My uncle, Ronald Barmes, USA Navy

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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