A Salute on Veterans Day: Heroes in the Family


with his sister, Desert Storm veteran Tracey Jewell, 44, and their uncle, Vietnam veteran John Dagostino, 63

Growing up in a family filled with soldiers, the country star, 45, says military service “was talked about with reverence.” Before deciding to pursue music, McGraw nearly enlisted, just as his sister joined the Army and shipped off to the Middle East. “We’ve talked about how lonely she got, and that’s something that’s stuck with me when I’ve met military families-how important the contact they have from home is,” says the singer. Earlier this year he launched the HomeFront program, donating 25 mortgage-free homes to vets. But he insists he gets more than he gives: “Meeting these soldiers has absolutely made me a better person. You can’t help but look at them with a sense of awe.”


with her brother, Air Force Maj. Jason Moore, 35

Known for gravity-defying acrobatics onstage, the pop star, 33, isn’t so daring when it comes to getting into a plane with her brother, a member of the air demonstration squadron the Thunderbirds. “Hell, no, he’d make me throw up!” she says with a laugh. Still, “I am very proud of what he’s doing.”


with their grandfather, retired Air Force Capt. Alan Carlton, 93

Brothers Jon, 36, and Tim Foremen, 34, may have found fame as members of the Grammy-winning Christian group Switchfoot, but the real star of their family is their grandfather, an Air Force pilot in World War II, who was captured by the Nazis and kept in a German P.O.W. camp for 18 months after a bombing mission went awry. “He represents a time that’s hard to imagine,” Jon (above right) says. “There were many stories he told me about trying to escape. The lesson he taught me is that hope is always appropriate. He’s an incredible man.”


with her brother, Air Force Sgt. Seth Ricketson, 25

Nettles was always close to her little brother Seth growing up. “I changed his diapers!” she says. So it was especially hard for the Sugarland singer, 38, when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. “We were concerned [for his safety],” she says, but Skype sessions helped ease the pain, especially when he missed their family’s Christmas celebrations. “It makes such a difference to be able to see the person,” she says. “There were lots of tears.” Now Ricketson, who is married and has a 4-year-old daughter, is stationed in Georgia, where he works as an electrician. “It’s fun to visit and see him in his dress uniform, tromping around, doing his thing,” says Nettles. “I’m super-proud of him. He’s shaped his life around a very beautiful and brave choice.”

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