Veterans Day Thoughts from a U.S. Army Veteran
For me, Veterans Day and Memorial Day are the two most important federal holidays. On these days, we can all celebrate our freedoms, and, more importantly, recognize those who sacrificed so much.
Today I am very proud to be an American Veteran. But that wasn’t always the case. In my early 20’s, during the Vietnam era, I was drafted into the military. I did not get a deferment from military service, so it was off to basic training and then to Vietnam. I entered as a private in the U.S. Army. To say that at that time I was angry and resentful of my predicament is an understatement.
I was surprised, however, to find that my tour of duty in Vietnam changed everything for the better. My time and service in the army, in a country so far away and removed in many ways from my life in America, opened my eyes to how fortunate I was to be an American. While in the military, I saw how the world navigates through daily life, very differently from life in America. I saw how, here in America, we can pursue our dreams and strive to do something better today than we did yesterday.
Once the blinders of youth, inexperience, anger and resentment were removed, I realized how our freedoms here in American were – and continue to be – a catalyst for greatness. We have the freedom to go after our dreams.
I began to realize how fortunate I was and how much I owed to the efforts of those who served and sacrificed. My duties in the army were not those of great generals. I was what was called a pay clerk, typing pay vouchers in what was called a hooch, with my helmet, flak jacket, and M16 next to my typewriter. When I think back to my time in the army so many years ago, I can honestly say that I am very proud to have served my country. I am proud to have served a country that does not promise equal outcomes, but one where we can strive to achieve our individual pursuits with all the freedoms accorded to us.
These freedoms are ours to appreciate because of the time, efforts, and sacrifices of our military-ALL BRANCHES. The men and women of the military stand at the ready to defend and die for our freedoms if necessary, that is their goal.
Thanks to my time in the military I grew, I learned and did a lot of maturing. In part to my military service I developed tremendous discipline to succeed, but most importantly I realized that I should NEVER waste opportunities that come my way in order to better my life and that of my family and friends whenever possible.
I am a PROUD veteran of the United States Army and to my fellow veterans of all branches, wars and conflicts, past, present, and future, I say THANK YOU to you and your families. Your sacrifice to serve will never go unappreciated by me.
Thank you and God Bless America.