The reason I thought long and hard before I joined the Navy of the United States may seem strange to you, wacky even.
I am a Southerner, born in Alabama, raised in North Carolina. My grandfather, Paul Jones Stith, was born before the Civil War — it hadn’t been that long since the United States destroyed the South.
My father had served in the U.S. Army, arriving in France on Nov. 11, 1918, the day World War I ended. My three brothers had all served in the U.S. Navy. One brother in law had served in the U.S. Air Force and another one was still in the Air Force.
But I hesitated over one question: If I took the oath could I remain loyal to the United States even against the South, if it came to that? I finally decided I could, and would, and, if I ever had children, I would raise them to be loyal to the United States.
So I joined up, swearing allegiance to the United States when I was 17.
Coming Friday: My Source Was Self-Insured