A World War I Veteran’s Extraordinary Sea Stories

Looking for something appropriate to post today, Veteran’s Day 2009, I stumbled upon this extraordinary oral history/slide show which World War I veteran Lester Hillegas tells in his own words. From YouTube:

World War I veteran Lester Hillegas (my grandfather) recalls his experiences joining the US Navy and serving aboard USS Florida. Recorded around 1980 with pictures from his time in the Navy. In this section he talks about enlistment, traveling to boot camp in Portsmouth, NH, and the crossing to the Scotland. Parts 2 and 3 he talks about service in the North Sea, the surrender of the German fleet, and life in the Navy. He passed away in 1989.

Here are videos worth watching and listening to.

Thanks to YouTube user ly776 for posting these incredible recordings and slide shows of his/her grandfather’s service for our country.  Sea stories like these help us understand and appreciate the dedication and sacrifices made by soldiers and sailors . But more importantly, they humanize what is otherwise a pretty abstract concept for most Americans who have not served.

On this special day, don’t forget to thank someone who’s served your country!