As we approach Memorial Day and I think of the holiday and its solemn meaning- not a week-end of sales, I also reflect on my personal history with the military.

My father served first in the French cavalry in WWII, later serving in the American Army when he came to the United States during the war. That was not to be his last involvement with the military as he joined the USAF in 1954 as a “civilian”. This happened in Morocco where we spent a few years then moved to Spain where my father was stationed. I had the experience not only of living in wonderful places growing up but my whole life revolved around the military experience and “family”. The people around you are your family and “home town”. Ask any “military brat” and they will confirm that their hometown is  usually not a place but the people they met along the way and with whom they  forged strong bonds. Incredible, I still maintain strong bonds with the people I went to school with and our “dependent” school holds reunions once every three years with hundreds of attendees from all over the USA and the world.

Jacky, Jeff, and the Clyman boys

Fast forward… My oldest son, early on, advised he wanted to be a pilot like his father, his uncle and his paternal grandfather. He has achieved his dream and makes us so proud of his career serving our country as an F-16 fighter pilot for over 20 years. Now a reserve Lt. Colonel still flying, he also is a partner in Cockpit USA bringing his passion for the clothing and ideals he inherited from both sides of the family. He is also a Warbird pilot, as is his father, Jeff Clyman, for the airplanes which the Clyman family and Cockpit USA work hard to keep flying at the . In many ways, both Cockpit USA and the American Airpower Museum strive to keep history alive for generations to come- Cockpit USA for the iconic jackets we were the first to launch into the fashion world in 1975 and the planes and exhibits at the Museum in Farmingdale, NY. Both entities  honor those who served and are serving to protect our cherished freedoms which still remain a beacon to so many all over the world who want to come to the USA-fallacies and all.

I hope you will spend a few minutes on Monday May 31st, Memorial Day, to reflect on those who gave their lives to protect us and those today who continue this tradition. Say “thank you” to the next serviceperson you see. They deserve our appreciation and admiration. May you have a wonderful and peaceful holiday week-end with friends and family after such stressful times we endured this past year.