July 4th is such an amazing holiday for all Americans because it reminds us of the pride and honor that comes with being a citizen of this amazing country. Our home, the United States of America, is a special place with people of all different backgrounds, ideologies, and shared experiences.
One great part of our country, that we can all rally behind, is our citizens’ deep respect for our nation’s servicemembers. The millions of people who have served in our nation’s military since our country’s founding have dedicated their lives to the eternal mission of freedom, unity, and democracy.
So many men and women choose to devote their lives in service to these great ideals, as do their spouses, children, parents, other family members, and their dearest friends.
I am proud to say that my own family served valiantly as part of our nation’s military. My brother, Clifton Rodney Decker served in the Navy, my father served in the Army, and my Uncle Frank served overseas in France. All these men put their lives on the line for the sake of protecting our great nation. These are some of the men that are the reasons we have our freedoms we experience today.
While these beloved men in my family served our country, it was 1st Lt. James Larry Hull who stole my heart when we married very young. It was Larry’s dream to be a pilot for the United States of America. I knew that when we married, and that is exactly what he ended up doing.
One of his fellow servicemembers in the Vietnam War, Col. Tom Yarborough, who wrote the introduction to my first book, knew Larry well, too. He first showed me the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1994. He had this to say about that experience and the life of my late husband:
“Standing before shiny black granite panel W5, line 120, we could see the name of Tyra’s
late husband, Larry, superimposed inside our own reflections. We both cried. I had served in Vietnam with her husband as a member of the super-secret Prairie Fire unit, a small group of United States Air Force forward air controllers who supported Special Forces teams on their dangerous missions behind enemy lines. Larry was one of the best.”
These stories of service remind us, on this inspirational holiday, that we have an obligation as Americans to honor those who have served and those who love them. Since our nation’s founding, the courageous men and women of our military have served valiantly, even when their missions were difficult and lives were put in jeopardy.
How do you plan to celebrate the Independence Day Weekend? What servicemembers would you like to recognize for their courage and sacrifice?
God Bless America.
In honor of 1st Lt. James L. Hull, I am posting the trailer (included in the following link), Where the Water Meets the Sand, which includes a cassette recording of his voice. I’m also including a series of photos, in a slideshow format, of my late husband Larry, his plane, and his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.
Our story is like so many others who sacrificed for our country. Larry was one of the best.
© Tyra Manning 2020