I have a different perspective of the military from many of the families at Palo Alto High School. It's fitting that I'm the military point of contact for our students, being that I'm a former Navy pilot's daughter. However, when I schedule lunchtime military rep visits to our campus I'm reminded of the negative connotation of the military back in the 1970s around the Bay Area. It's too bad, really. I can think of several students brave enough to pave their own path and go against the usual post-high school route into military service and career training.
My dad, Carl H. Steffens, Sr., was given a tremendous boost when he joined the Navy after graduating from tiny Wayne State Teacher's College in Nebraska. He was trained as a pilot and made the fortuitous choice to come to the Alameda Naval Base, living in my favorite town--Palo Alto. From his Navy service, he pursued a career in the pioneering world of semiconductors, eventually becoming VP of Marketing at Fairchild/National Semiconductor before his untimely death at age thirty-nine.
I am so proud of my father's choice to serve his country. I am abundantly blessed that Dad saw his way out of a bleak upbringing in Spencer, Iowa and college in Nebraska, to raise his family here in the "Valley of the Heart's Delight." Today is a great day to honor him and other veterans who have served our country. Do you know a veteran? Send him or her a note of appreciation. Better yet, spend some time visiting and listening to their stories on this Veteran's Day. Each has a unique tale to tell; if only I could hear it from my father.