In 1954, Congress and President Eisenhower re-designated Armistice Day as Veterans Day to honor all veterans, living and dead.
My uncle, Richard Edward Gines, served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Forces at the end of World War II. Following his discharge, he continued his education at New York University. He then was employed as a financial writer by The New York Herald Tribune. Later, he became a manager in the air freight industry. He died in 1996 and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
My uncle, Perry Wesley Gines (left) and a "Coastie" friend in the late 1940s. Perry served more than 33 years in the United States Coast Guard. He retired as a CWO-4 (chief warrant officer-4), one of the few African-Americans to reach that rank. He died in 1986 and is buried at Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas, with his wife, Kay Frances. The Kay Frances and Perry W. Gines Scholarship at the University of Alaska is named for them.
My grandfather, Quentin V.H. Manson, a jazz musician, served with the Army Band at Camp Wallace, Texas, during World War II. After the war, he moved to California and was part of the vibrant jazz scene in central Los Angeles. He died in 1987.
My great-uncle, Carl Edward Manson, shown in front of his Los Angeles millinery shop, c. 1966. He has a World War I draft card on file, but I don't know if he actually served. One clue, however: his wife is buried at Riverside National Cemetery and is listed as "Wife of -- --." Carl's actual burial site is unknown.
My father is pictured outside his mother's home in Pasadena, California, on his way overseas in 1965. Commissioned through ROTC in 1955, he served tours of duty in Germany, Korea, and Vietnam. He retired as a lieutenant colonel and commenced a long second career as an administrator at San Jose State University in California. My parents continue to reside in San Jose.
My twin cousins Frank W. Gines and Henry E. Gines were both veterans. Frank served seven years in the Army as a paratrooper, earning numerous awards and decorations. Following his military service, Frank worked at the Rocky Flats nuclear plant in Colorado for 24 years. He was also a minister of the Gospel, having attended Western Baptist Bible College. He worked at several churches, ending at his death as assistant pastor of the Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Denver. After his retirement from Rocky Flats, Frank took a part-time job as head of player security with the Colorado Rockies. He passed away in 1999.
Henry Gines was a Vietnam veteran who attained the rank of sergeant major in the Army. Henry and Frank are both interred at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Colorado.
My great-uncle Benjamin Franklin Long has a World War I draft card on file, as does my grandfather William Edward Gines. However, I can't find any record of their actual service. My great-uncle Clarence Long also has a World War I draft card on file, but it's likely that he did not serve. To the question "Where employed?" on the draft card, Clarence candidly noted that he was a "Prisoner, Municipal Farm," in Kansas City.