For me and my family Veterans Day is personal. My family lineage includes a history of Army servicemen, and all served in at least one war.
My great grandfather, Brigadier General Neal Anthony Harper Sr., retired from the United States Army in 1952. He was a military dentist, but also carried a degree in law and teaching. In 1977 the Harper Dental Clinic, on the Army base of Fort Leonard Wood, was dedicated in honor of my great grandfather. He served in World War I, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
My grandfather, Colonel Neal Anthony Harper Jr., retired from the United States Army in 1970. He entered the Army as a Private while attending college at the University of California-Berkeley, and soon after received his ROTC officer's commission, becoming a 2nd Lieutenant. He served in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and World War II. He died on January 10, 2000, and although he was cremated his service had full military honors (with presentation of the flag, military officers present, and a 21 gun salute).
My father, Neal Anthony Harper III, served in the United States Army only during the Vietnam War. He was in Vietnam when my oldest brother, Mitch, was born, and did not return home until Mitch was nearly two years old. (Neal is on the right in the picture below, taken while he was in Vietnam)
My youngest brother, SSG Neal Anthony Harper IV (Tony), joined the United States Army in 2001, and was quickly deployed to Kuwait, where he served for six months. Less than six months later he was deployed to Iraq, where he served in the Iraqi War for seven months. He has been in the United States Army Reserves since his return home. He is now in college full time to pursue a degree in nursing, and has recently submitted his packet for Warrant Officer. He plans to remain in the Reserves until he has served at least 20 years.
My oldest brother, Mitchell Harper, also served a short term in the United States Army. He was stationed in Panama and Germany.
I am proud of the military heritage in my family. I'm especially proud that the men in my family chose to carry on the tradition of service to the United States, whether it be a long enlistment or not. On Veterans Day it is important to remember all of the servicemen and women who have served, and I give special thanks to the men in my family who served honorably.