Only a handful of fond memories of my grandfather, John (Jack) Joseph Doyle, who passed away in 1960, remain, but I would love to have known him better. From the stories I heard and the number of blurred photo copies of news clippings, letters, and documents that I have, it’s evident that he was a fascinating man.

According to these undated news clips, my grandfather was a “well-known” Chicago  vaudeville and traveling show comedian before and after his military service. He was injured in France in 1917 and returned to the veterans’ hospital on several occasions afterwards due to his injuries. He later trained in the “new” practice of physiotherapy. Although he lost his business during the Depression, he continued to be known as Doc Doyle until his death.

I’ve often wondered if my grandfather’s war injuries (and smoking) prompted his early death at the age of 53. War leaves its mental, physical, and emotional stamp on all who serve and the friends and families who support them.

World War I, the war in which my grandfather served, was known as the “war to end all wars.” If only that label was true. Too many American men and women continued to sacrifice their lifestyles, if not their lives, in the name of keeping peace throughout the world from then until now, and probably will as long as humanity exists.

In honor of the veterans of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as the first “Armistice Day.” The observance of the day changed several times over the years. It became a legal holiday in 1938 and the word “Veterans” replaced “Armistice.” In 1954 a proclamation recognized all American veterans from all wars and conflicts.  Although the official holiday for 2012 was yesterday, government facilities are closed today in observance.

In addition to my grandfather, I personally want to recognize my son-in-law, Steven Lukasiewicz, AOC (AW/SW), U.S. Navy Leading Chief Petty Officer, who currently is serving; and my father, John Doyle (deceased) who also served in the U.S. Navy; my husband, Marshall Brodien, U.S. Army, retired; my brother-in-law, Parke Brewer, Master Sergeant U.S. Army Reserves, retired after 26 years of service; my brother, Jimmy Doyle, U.S. Army Reserves, retired; and countless friends and relatives who also put their lives on the line for our safety.

God bless them, all the other men and women who served or are serving in our military, and the families who support them and carry on alone in their absence.

©Mary K. Doyle

(Photo: John Joseph Doyle, U.S. Navy, WWI)

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