Searching for Veteran's Records

I sometimes get e-mails asking how to find a parent's service records from WWII. I finally got some info I can pass on, but first, a little bit of "preaching" from me:

Don't wait until your father, mother, uncle, aunt, etc are dead to start looking for service records. Talk to your father, uncle, or whoever *before* they're too ill to tell you anything. Yes, some of them may refuse at first to talk about the war or what they did, but if you tell them it would be a shame for the memories of such a historical time to be lost forever, they may reconsider. And let them know you'll be "rooting" through their belongings when they're gone to find out what they did do during the time in the service. That just might do it!

Now, on to how to get a veteran's service records: