To the men and women who have stepped up to the call of duty, I salute you and your families with high esteem.
Service to your country particularly in times of war is no easy task. It takes a brave spirit and a dedication to the mission which you exemplify.
Given the recent attacks and assassinations of 13 soldiers at their home post in Fort Hood, TX, I am both proud and saddened to identify with my fellow soldiers. The wounds of a “friend” are the worst kind.
This nation –problems notwithstanding– would not be what it is without God’s blessing through the lives of great men and women whose blood has been shed in the cause of freedom. From the American Revolutionary War to Afghanistan, your bravery is exemplary.
The current holiday became a US national holiday in 1938 and in 1954 was renamed Veterans Day to honor all veterans. There are currently an estimated 23.2 million US veterans, down from a peak of 28.6 million in 1980.
I served for 10 continuous years active duty in the US Army and I am proud of every minute of it. I served during the second Honduran Operation (pictured above just after arriving at the Honduran airstrip near Comayagua), Cold War in Europe, Desert Storm and as part of the Multinational Forces and Observers in Egypt. That peacekeeping force was established by a 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Isreal. By God’s grace and mercy I returned home each time safe to my family.
Being thousands of miles away from home and in hostile arenas where your life in on the line deserves high respect and honor. Although some did not have a choice to serve due to the draft, still they went and fought with bravery. Many did not return home alive. Today, the most remarkable thing is that the services are 100% volunteer. Every man and woman has willingly raised their hand in an oath to protect and defend these United States.
Military life showed me the best and the worst. Death and life, sadness and joy, fear and friendship. I have with me (as Im sure others who have served will tell you) memories that will not fade away.
Even though I no longer actively wear the uniform, I am still a soldier. This is a day to pause and honor our veterans, but for me every day is a day where their service and sacrifice should remain in a position of honor among the citizens of this country. Whether you agree with war or not, the men and women who fight are not just a part of us, they are us.
Thanks to each of you who takes time to remember veterans in your family, church and community.
102nd QM, Fort Campbell, KY
SPT Battalion (BN), MFO, El Gorah, Egypt
3rd BN, 7th Inf (197th Inf Brigade, Mech), Fort Benning, GA
2 BN, 36 Inf (1st Bde, 3rd Armored Division) Germany redesignated to:
3/5 Cav Regiment, 3rd AD Germany
197th Support Bn, 197th Inf Bde (Sep, Mech) Fort Benning, GA redesignated to:
3 Brigade, 24th Inf
Operation Big Pine II, Honduras 1983
Operation Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia/Iraq 1990-91