Frank Wildasin had yet to graduate from high school in 1951 when he and a group of his friends decided to join the United States Air Force. In fact, he had just one day from the time he graduated to starting his service.
“It was just something we all decided to do,” said Wildasin, a resident at Meadowbrook Commons. “We did it for the love of our country.
“And I would do it again, too. Just not at my age though,” he said with a laugh.
For Eugene Bear, choosing the Air Force in 1961 was a strategic decision as he wanted to pick his branch of the military and knew if he would have been drafted it would have been into the U.S. Army. It also helped that
he liked planes and flying.
“It was part of my duty to do that for my country,” said Bear, who served until 1965 and also lives at Meadowbrook Commons.
Wildasin served in the Air Force from 1951-1955, earning the rank of corporal at the end of his four years. He enlisted during the Korean War, working as an aircraft mechanic and providing field maintenance on the B-36 Bombers. He “lucked out” not having to go to Korea, instead spending his time in aircraft school in California and in Puerto Rico.
“I met some really good people in the service and we enjoyed what we were doing because it was for a purpose,” he said.
As of 2018, there were an estimated 18.2 million living veterans who served during at least one war. An estimated 530,572 veterans were living in Michigan, making up 6.8% of the population.
For both Wildasin and Bear, and for many who serve in the military, it was a love for America and doing something for the good of others that drew them in. And as Veterans Day approaches on November 11, it’s vitally important we recognize and celebrate all the men and women who served our country in war or peace, dead or alive. While Memorial Day is a time we remember those who gave their lives, Veterans Day is largely focused on thanking living veterans for their service.
It’s a thank you Bear appreciates when he dons his Air Force hat in public and is recognized by strangers for his service. His wife Joan, who is not a veteran but has several family members who are, says that simple gesture means a great deal.
“If it wasn’t for the military and those who served we wouldn’t be free today,” she said.
Typically, the City of Novi hosts a Veterans Day celebration to honor the men and women who served our country. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we will be unable to gather in person but will be recognizing them on the Civic Center Message Board as well as with a video on the City’s Facebook page.
Thank a Veteran
We want to recognize our Novi Veterans by showcasing their names on the Novi Civic Center Message Board on 10 Mile Road. If you are a Veteran or you know a Veteran, please submit their name, branch of service and service dates to Cristin Spiller at email@example.com by Nov. 4.
Share Your Story
During your time of service was there a moment you carry with you? A story you like to share with friends and family? We want to hear it. Please submit stories and a photo by Oct. 31 to Cristin Spiller at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Novi Parks, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375. Stories will be shared throughout the month of November on the Novi Parks Facebook page.
There are no words to express how grateful we are for all of our Veterans. We are asking community members to submit a short video using their phone thanking a Veteran for their service. Submit your video to email@example.com by Oct. 26. If you have questions, call 248.347.0400.