I don’t usually write notes, because I simply do not have the time. Today, I can spare a few minutes. My day started off just like any other day, and as usual I was running late, despite the fact that my niece screamed her head off this morning just to make sure her auntie was awake. Thanks for the wake up Ana! I checked in at work and then headed off to our elementary campus to attend the Veteran’s Day Ceremony. It was beautiful! The children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and the glee club sang the national anthem. The elementary and middle school GT students read about each of the branches of service as well as the military campaigns the United States has fought. They even sang each service’s song. I was impressed and honored. When it was time to honor those who could not be with us, I started to tear up. I couldn’t understand why, and then it hit me. I started to think of all my battle buddies who were no longer with me and had given the ultimate sacrifice. I thought of every friend that is still abroad fighting the war on terror, and of every person I met when I served. Anyone can look up statistics about our brave men and women on the Internet, or research it in a book. What those sources cannot describe is the bond between people who serve. I cannot remember half of my graduating high school class, but I can give you the first and last name of every person I served with and just about each of their hometown’s names as well. Their faces are forever engraved in my memory. I miss each of them when I think of them, and I know that whenever I need a friend, they are always there for me. I can count on them for anything. I can go a long time without seeing immediate and extended family, and although I miss them, I know they are well. It is not the same with my Army family. I yearn to see them and fellowship with them. I look forward to vacations with them and pictures and cards in the mail from them. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of some crazy adventure we shared, or the funny things they said and did. I’m not saying that they are better than my family, but I do not know that there are words to describe just how strong that bond is. When most people are introduced to other people they tend to be reserved and it takes time to build a relationship and for some it never happens. It isn’t so for military folk. Active or inactive, we meet and it’s like we knew each other all along. We can laugh and talk and help each other out, and one would think we had known each other since childhood, when we have only just met. Even though we joke about which branch is better, we all love and respect each other. Our lingo is special, our sense of humor unmatched, and our experiences unlike any other. I am proud to belong to such an elite group and humbled all the same.
Yes, humbled. Humbled because not all of us can sit in a school gymnasium and enjoy the honors of Veteranâ€™s Day. Just as I share in all the joys that come with being a soldier, I also share in the pain. Every name ever written on a memorial was one of us, and each one evokes pain and sorrow, but most importantly pride. It is their legacy, which we hope to honor and keep alive, and which is uppermost in our minds when we enlist, when we serve, and when we retire. It is our hope and wish that every American cherishes the freedom that we so humbly dedicate our time to preserve. I hope everyone had a memorable Veteranâ€™s Day. To those who are still serving, I thank you. To those who have served, thank you. To those who are watching from up above, we are honored to live your legacy. God Bless every Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, Guardsman, and God Bless America!