With it being Veterans Day today, at least two things come to mind:
We should all give thanks to the men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces and helped preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.
For me personally, I always think of my dad on this day. A vet of World War II and the Korean conflict who died in 2007, he was proud of his military service.
He even wrote a book about his experiences, with his work sitting in the Library of Congress.
Dad taught me to respect Veterans Day, something that meant a lot to him.
He's also the primary reason why I love sports. I got some of it from his father, who was a die-hard Detroit Red Wings follower.
But grandpa died in 1957, way too early for me to fully experience his passion for sports in general and his love for the Wings in particular.
My dad made sure to take me to many professional sporting events in Detroit while I was growing up, though.
He wanted me to see some of the greats in the sports world, but not necessarily the Detroit teams.
Sure, I got to see local stars Gordie Howe, Dave Bing, Al Kaline and Alex Karras, among others.
But dad also took me to see Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson, Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry, Maurice "The Rocket" Richard and Mickey Mantle, to name a few.
I didn't know the significance of our sports viewing at the time. I was just glad to be attending a pro sporting event.
But dad did.
"Some day," he said, "you'll be able to say you saw some of the best players in their particular sports."
The times we spent together attending pro games were special. We saw Unitas and Co. bury the Lions 34-0 in 1964, but appreciated the Colts' talent; we saw Howe and his teammates walk out of the Wings' dressing room before games at Olympia Stadium; we even saw Denny McLain during his magical 31-win season in 1968, though the game we attended wound up being one of his six losses on the year.
One Christmas, my parents gave me a large, wrapped box for a present. Inside were two or three other boxes I had to dig through until I saw two tickets for a Red Wings game inside.
I was thrilled.
All this fueled my love of sports to this day. The Lovely Linda Lou has a hard time understanding my desire to attend local sporting events as a spectator on my days/nights off.
It's just in my blood. I have my dad to thank - in large part - for that.
So on this hallowed day, I'll not only think of all the veterans - my dad included - who served this country, but all the times my dad and I spent at stadiums/arenas watching star pro athletes play.
The memories are priceless.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.