Veterans’ Day

Veterans’ Day isn’t until November 11, but let’s take a moment to give thanks to the extraordinary women and men who served us, under fire, so that we may live today in the land of the free, home of the brave, and vote on November 4th.

Regardless of our positions on current or past war politics, there’s one thing we can agree on…an attitude of humble thankfulness to the women and men who have served our country by placing themselves at risk to to do their duty as members of America’s armed forces. We have them to thank for the potential that our political and economic system offers to women and men pursuing their destinies limited only by their own talent and drive, operating within the law and guided by strong ethical codes of conduct.

My father , Hugh J. O’Donnell, served in WWII, entering the military with the rest of the Fordham University Class of 1943. He served a full year of combat in Germany with the 104th Division Timberwolves as a machine gun squad leader.


I was privileged to serve in my Dad’s unit, the 104th, twenty-some years after he was mustered out. That was the Viet Nam era and the Timberwolves were still a training division. They never called us up. I never faced  enemy fire, and to this day I am in total awe of the man or woman who wears the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB — Kentucky rifle on blue background, above) on their uniform. (Other branches of service have similar badges.)

God bless you, Dad. You put in the hard time so your kids could live free in peace.

Hugh J. O’Donnell, 1920-1987, was a Latin and Language Arts teacher in the Hillsboro High School District who served his students well. He taught “critical thinking” before it became a course name or a buzz word. If you want to know more about my Dad, the teacher, just ask one of his former students.

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3 thoughts on “Veterans’ Day

  1. Thank you both for your service. Your dad may have taught my wife’s cousins, they lived in Hillsboro at that time.

    You’re most welcome. Dad did the heavy lifting, though.

    Depending on when your wife’s cousins went to Hilhi or Glencoe (1963-1982), they might have been classmates of my sister’s. (I graduated from Farmingdale High School in New York, Class of 1962.) Email me if you find out. Thanks! –Hugh

  2. I just hated 90% of the teachers at Hill-Hi in the early 1970’s. Most seemed like burnt out robots, doing the minimum to get by. But not your dad, he was a real class act, a guy that cared and really loved what he did. He was one of the best teachers I ever had. It was a real pleasure to be in his class and listen to his wisdom…

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