My father served in the US Navy during the Vietnam Era flying as a radar operator on E-1s and later serving in the reserves as a Radar Technician on the E-2 Hawkeyes.
I grew up near NAS Miramar in the 80s when Top Gun was based there and they filmed the first movie. Planes stood on pedestals outside the main entrance. Our home in Poway was under the landing pattern and every day we watched the planes returning to the base.
Lots of my fellow students in school were "Navy Brats" whose father's served in the Navy. Many of them only lived in San Diego a few years before moving on to another base.
That might have been my life if my dad had not gotten out of the Navy before I was born (after an explosion on the USS Enterprise) and taken a job with NCR working on ATMs and other projects. He remained in the reserves so once a month and two weeks during the summer he spent his time serving.
When he passed away in 1986, when I was 15, my mother and I were invited by the Squadron to visit Miramar and I was given a tour of an E-2 Hawkeye in the hanger and got to spend some time on the flight line. This was just after Top Gun had hit the theaters. It made me proud to be the son of a Navy Veteran (which I still am).
On Memorial Day, we remember those who lost their lives in the service of our country. Those who gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedom.