Three topics for the price of one.

My dad never talked much about his service during World War II.

He’d started out to be a doctor, he said, and the Army had sent him to the University of Wisconsin for a few months. Then the Army decided it needed infantrymen more and dispatched him to Belgium.

There he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, he said, and narrowly escaped death when a cannonball took off the head of the soldier next to him.

But that was about all he’d say about his service, though he did love watching World War II shows on TV, such as “Combat!” and “Hogan’s Heroes.” I once asked him why he wanted to relive what must have been miserable years — he had emerged from the war partially disabled by trench foot, the result of staying in his boots too long without being able to change his socks.

“This time,” he answered with a chuckle, “I know who’s going to win!”

Maybe this is why I like to hear the stories our veterans can tell about what they’ve done. More broadly, our debt to America’s veterans is why we feel we need to tell stories such as the one Mark Reynolds tells starting on Page A1 of The Providence Sunday Journal.

What happens to members of the military — both while they're serving and after they come home — is important. Beyond what we owe them, every one of them is somebody's daughter or son. And many are somebody's mom or dad.

In later years, after my dad was gone, I’d phone my uncles — one of whom served in World War II, the other in Korea — on Veterans Day, and thank them for their service.

Whether it’s in person, on the phone or online, today is a good day to thank a veteran. We wouldn’t be here without them.

A special holiday food section

Today’s Sunday Journal also contains a special section, Food for the Holidays. It’s edited by our fabulous food editor, Gail Ciampa.

I asked Gail what she wanted to accomplish when she set out to create the section. Here’s what she answered.

“In this 48-page special section, we provide recipes to cook and inspire you for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Need New Year's Day brunch ideas? We feature them.

“Some of the recipes are new to The Journal’s pages, and some of them are favorites from our archives, an incredibly rich resource from more than 30 years of food sections.

“One set of Christmas recipes ran 21 years ago and features wonderful photos from chefs at JWU who simplified the big meal.

“There are also some seafood dishes from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, pride of Fall River, from an interview I did with him a few years back. Think a menu for La Vigilia, Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve. And I featured nine of my fave Christmas cookie recipes, all tested and ready to go.

“If dining out is part of the plan, you'll find a list of restaurants open for Thanksgiving or offering meals to go.You can also use that list to explore making an early Christmas reservation.

“Hospitality is a big part of my holidays, so I interviewed one prominent hospitality leader about how she entertains in her Cranston kitchen at this time of year. I found some wonderful cookbooks that would make great host or holiday gifts for the cooks among us. And I shared a sampling of recipes from four of them.”

I’ll bet they’re delicious.

How are we doing?

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Please take a few minutes to give us your feedback. We’ll use it to help shape our coverage.

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And, as always: Thank you for reading us.

— Alan Rosenberg is The Journal’s executive editor.

(401) 277-7409

arosenberg@providencejournal.com

On Twitter: @AlanRosenbergPJ