In the Ostler family, 10 men, including me, served their country during World War II and Korea. We were all born and lived in Chelsea, Mass., and were drafted. My mother, a practicing Catholic, had 12 children: 11 boys, one girl.
Eight of my brothers — Charles, Howard, Arthur, George, Donald, Robert, Roland and Leo — were drafted into the Army. My brother Howard was placed in the Air Corps. All served with honor and distinction in combat and received decorations. Charles was killed in action in Italy.
At the end of the war, my twin brother, Lawrence, and I were also drafted and served in combat during the Korean War. Congress allowed twins to choose between staying together or serving in different assignments.
We chose to be together.
So, we were together on patrol when we engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy while we were on a night recon patrol on Dec. 14, 1952. Lawrence was severely wounded, but he survived.
From there, we went on to become police lieutenants in California. Lawrence passed away in 1999.
My other siblings continued to serve with pride as officers, firefighters and even as civil servants. Leo, George and Donald are in their 90s.
As for me, I joined and rode a motorcycle with the Patriot Guard Riders until I felt that at my age, 83, I was too old. I now help as part of the support unit. My favorite mission: driving the 166 miles to Sarasota, Fla., to stand in honor of vets being buried with no known family to pay respects.
No matter my age, I can find a way to pay tribute to them.