Veterans Day: We Salute You

“Memorial Day is to honor the fallen.  Veterans Day is to be thankful for those who are still with us.”

VeteranI overheard a Veteran say that Friday afternoon.  He was comparing the two days while reminiscing about his friend, a fallen soldier who died valiantly in combat.

Since moving to Knoxville, I have become friends with three Vietnam Veterans.  I couldn’t image how different my life would be if these men were not part of it.  I wasn’t even born yet and they were fighting in a war they didn’t understand in a foreign place.  These men don’t like talking about it and rarely even mention that facet of their past; though it is clear that their time overseas shaped them into the men they are today.

Another friend of mine was a fighter pilot in The Persian Golf War (also known as Operation Desert Storm).  His name is Greg and for a brief moment in time we were co-workers.  When first meeting Greg, he came across as a natural leader.  He is able to motivate people through his hard work and has the knowledge to push people to their fullest potential.  It wasn’t until working with him for a few months, until he mention his Military past.  Though we no longer work together, we still stay in touch and I am proud to call him a friend and mentor.

My cousin Scott joined the Marines in 2006.  Scott grew up hundreds of miles away and we were never close.  In fact, we’re still not.  It has nothing to due with a checked past, it’s just a proximity issue.  However while he was deployed, not a day went by when I though about him.  A cousin I barely know, but am confident that he is one of the bravest people I know.  Hopefully, one day he and I can get to know each other better.

To these five brave Veterans, thank you.  Thank you for your courage.  Thank you for your leadership.  Thank you for being a part of my life.

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