*** I originally wrote this article three years ago when I worked at Bleacher Report.
As we all reflect on what the meaning of Memorial Day is really about, I want to remember all who served bravely in the many military conflicts that our country has been involved in, especially those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
One is my uncle Bob, who was one of my dad’s younger brothers. Dad served in World War II along with his older brother John. When the Korean conflict started, my uncle Bob was in college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, then known as the Milwaukee State Teachers College.
Bob became the first person in the Fox family to ever get a college degree when he graduated. Even with his graduation, he still went to Korea to serve as a medic in the Army. Unfortunately, not long before he was set to come home, he was killed in action.
A few years later when I was born, I was named after Bob. Like my uncle, I also graduated from UWM.
The Green Bay Packers once had a player who served in both World War II and Korea. He was also named Bob: Bob Forte. Forte was also a college graduate, and he was drafted by the Packers in 1943 out of Arkansas.
But instead of playing right away with the Packers, Forte served as an Army tank officer in the war until he was discharged in 1945.
Forte started his career in Green Bay in 1946. He played with the Packers for seven years, which was interrupted for one year while he served in Korea.
Forte was one of only 14 players in NFL history who served both in World War II and Korea.
Forte had a solid career with the Packers as a two-way player, which was common in his era. On offense, he played running back and had 331 yards rushing in his career, along with 24 catches for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
But it was on the defensive side of the ball where Forte really shined, both as a defensive back and as a linebacker. Forte had 23 career interceptions (one for a touchdown) and also had 11 fumble recoveries.
In 1973, Forte was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.
Forte died in 1996 at the age of 73.
So as we stand by the grill today or watch a ballgame, let’s not forget what this day is all about. It’s about honoring the memory of all of those who served and sacrificed for all of us and also for those who still do.