What Veterans Day means to me

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Capt. Anthony Damian Quenga (left) and John Henry Warvel Jr. in 1960s (right).
Capt. Anthony Damian Quenga (left) and John Henry Warvel Jr. in 1960s (right).

What Veterans Day means to me

by: Anthony Damian Quenga | .
Vietnam Veterans of America | .
published: November 04, 2014

Editor’s Note: Anthony Damian Quenga enlisted in the Air Force in 1974 and retired as a captain in 1991. He currently resides on Guam and serves as the secretary of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Guam Chapter #668.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs  27:17

“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 2:1-3

So, “What does Veterans Day mean to me,”….

Veterans Day conjures up the sacrifices we, as veterans and our family, made to provide a safe living environment against world terrorism, to protect against leaders who choose to do harm to our island, our nation and our world.

It is always in our blood, our heart, our mind and soul to maintain world freedom for all elderly, children, grandchildren, and future generations to give them a safe secure, and democratic society.  Undoubtedly, our commitment, loyalty, daily sacrifices, love for our nation, service to God, and family speaks of who we are, always service to god and country before self!

Military veterans are rigorously screened, tested and evaluated for the moral, intellectual and physical qualities required to belong to a prestigious, honorably and dignified organization, the United States armed forces.

As Veterans, we have proven that we had what was needed, mentally, physically and spiritually, to be part of an elite team. And, we opted to take the path of most resistance that led us to a life of distinction, purpose and honor.

My dad, Antonio Cruz Quenga, set precedence for his sons to follow as servants to our United States armed forces.  He served as a soldier in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and then bravely served another tour (after leaving the Army, and entering joining the U.S. Navy) during the Vietnam War.

Dad proudly felt compelled to volunteer a second tour in Vietnam. But the strength of our mother would not allow him; she threatened to take herself and my siblings back to the U.S., if he did. (Like any loving husband, he made the right decision.) He was presented the Vietnamese Medal of Honor from the Vietnamese president.

As, his oldest son, I committed myself to the United States Air Force at the tender age of 17; I served as a crew chief for jet aircraft (T-37s and T-38s), and then as a refrigeration and air conditioning specialist, both residential and commercial systems.

Later, I served as a commissioned second lieutenant in the Air Force working with the most powerful weapon system in the world, the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile systems – the Minuteman II and III as well as the Titan II.  This was followed by, an assignment in the aerial port business, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and finally with the Ground Transportation Fleet at the largest base in the Air Force.

My brothers also served: Jesse served in the Air Force, Raymund in the Navy (his son also served as a Marine), Patrick was an Army colonel as was Anna Marie’s husband. Their two sons also served in the Army. My youngest son also proudly served in the Army.

But above all, mom – Francisca Sablan Damian Quenga – made the most enduring of all sacrifices.

We Love You Mom!

Your “familia,” the Quengas, Antonio Cruz, Anthony Damian, Jesse Damian, Raymund Damia, Anna Marie Damian and Patrick Damian – and, grandchildren who served, and continue to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Kisses, always!

“ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL!”
(Vietnam Veterans of America, Guam Chapter #668)

“WE LOVE IN LIFE, FORGET THE DEAD….UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.”
(Knights Of Columbus)

Memories of my beloved husband

Editor’s Note: Myong Cha Warvel, 74 years old and a resident of a nursing home in Korea since suffering a stroke last year, recently sent a letter to Stars and Stripes. Below are her thoughts about her late husband, John Henry Warvel Jr., who died in March 2009. They first met in 1961 at the old Seoul Military Hospital. He was a doctor and captain in the U.S. Army. She was a Korean nurse’s aide. They would marry in 1993.

By Myong Cha Warvel

His cute, sweet and funny gestures made me burst out in laughter. It was a nice feeling.\Work wasn’t hard when he was around, his white coat so distinguished in his brisk walk.

I cry whenever I sing the hymn of Peter the Apostle confessing his love to Jesus (in our nursing home we sing hymns often). My Jack confessed to little me that I am his best friend and confidant.

I am here in this nursing home lonely and confined, but I am OK with his memory. My heart aches and injuries hurt, but I am strong just thinking how fortunate I am. God must have sent him to the hospital corridor to meet me.

He took me to the dance. I wore a dark-blue silk dress and pearl necklace that he gave to me. I felt love and happiness. My heart fluttered.

We’d carry on conversations. My stories were probably silly, but he loved it and laughed with me.

He used to call me “Mop Top” and “CJ” (my nickname) in his distinctive and attractive voice.

Thirty years later the phone rang. It was him. We got married and it lasted for 15 years. He left me, this time forever.

He taught me love, humanity and respect.