My father is a proud veteran

Orlando McKinley, Sr. Photo courtesy: McKinley

Every November 11, Veterans Day is celebrated in the United States.

It is a day to honor the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, which was the end of World War I. According to, Congress passed a resolution on June 4, 1926 that the “recurring anniversary of November 11, 1918 should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations,” and that the president should issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of Armistice Day.

Veterans come from different walks of life, whether they are our children, our aunts, our uncles, our coworkers, or even our parents.

With Veterans Day just passing, I had made time to speak with veteran Orlando McKinley, Sr., who is also my father. McKinley was adamant on joining the Marines when he was in high school. His entire senior year of high school, at just 17 years old, he was actually delayed entry into the Marines. Finally after graduation, McKinley was on active duty in boot camp from June 2-6, 1989.

From June 6, 1989, through June 5, 1993, McKinley was on active duty and it was not until 1994 and 1995 that he joined the Reserves.

During his years as an g active Marine, he was deployed to Okinawa, Japan.

McKinley said, “While I was in Japan, I really enjoyed not only seeing but learning a new culture as well.”

In 1990, McKinley was hit by a military Hummer, which caused injuries to his back that still affect him to this day.

His wife, who is also a veteran, La-Quisha McKinley, said, “His time in the military prepared him for life and leadership.”

La-Quisha also said, “He still to this day upholds those standards that he learned from the military and he has instilled some things that he has learned into his kids.”

Orlando McKinley now lives comfortably in Atlanta with two kids, who both attend Florida A&M University, a beautiful and loving wife, and plenty of family who honor and celebrate him throughout his life.

Veterans Day is for remembering and honoring those who not only fought for our country, and who put their lives on the line everyday for the United States. We thank and appreciate each and every single veteran.