“In a week we will be celebrating “Veterans Day”, a day set aside to honor the many men and women who have served our nation in the Armed Forces. As a Vietnam combat veteran, I have been periodically asked “What does it mean to be a Veteran”. The answer to that can be quite perplexing. However, I’d like to point out what and who is a Veteran…He’s the cop on the beat who spent six months in the desert sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel…He’s the parade-riding legionnaire who pins his medal and ribbons on with a prosthetic hand….She is the nurse, in all wars, who fought futility and went to bed sobbing every night in a war zone field hospital…He’s the old man in the store, palsied now and aggravatingly slow, who landed on Omaha Beach to liberate Europe from the Nazi oppression in World War II…He’s your neighbor, probably retired now, who stopped the communists in the frozen tundra of Korea…He’s the middle-aged businessman and worker, who forty plus years ago fought the communists in the jungles, skies and waters of Vietnam… they are the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan now, in harm’s way, so that we can sleep more secure at home…It’s the people who “stand the line” to preserve and protect the right for others to protest against the same conflict the soldiers are involved in…It’s the thousands of memorials and tombstones honoring the men and women who paid the supreme sacrifice for our nation…The are the ones who still remember buddies that didn’t make it back and who still have the nightmares of war, even though the guns have long ceased…They are the soldiers who went to war one person and came back another, or didn’t come back at all…They are the ordinary and yet extraordinary human beings, the countless men and women who put on the uniform of our nation and gave some of their life’s most vital years in the service of their country and who sacrificed their ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs…It’s the Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine, Who salutes the Flag, Who serves others with respect for the Flag and Whose coffin is ultimately draped by the Flag…Remember, for those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know…It wasn’t the politician that gave you freedom of speech, it was the Veteran…it wasn’t the political activist that gave you the right to assemble, it was the Veteran…if you can read a book thank a teacher, if you can read it in English, thank a Veteran…God Bless the men and women who have served our country, God Bless the man and women in harm’s way now serving our nation, God Bless America.” –
Thank you sir!