On the 11th hour of the 11th Day of the 11th month the guns fell silent across Europe marking the end of fighting in WW1. Today we celebrate that day as Veterans Day, honoring all those who have served. As a second generation sailor, it is sometime hard to realize that only a small percentage of the population has made the commitment and sacrifices required as part of being in the military.
For many of our parent and grandparent’s generations almost everyone “did a hitch”, or served because of the draft.
I got to see a lot of sea. Some of it was very picturesque such as sunset in the Surigao straits in the Philippines.
Some of it much more industrial and less fun; as in the “joys” of living in a shipyard for months of repairs.
Throughout my career, the one universal constant was the dedication and quality of the young men and women in the service. Whether they were in for one tour or a full career, each and every one of them learned that there are things more important than self. Dedication to the mission, the unit and the country were a unifying force. Whether you served in the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Army, the Air Force, or the Coast Guard be proud of what you accomplished.
Today, lots of places are offering “Free” meals or coffee to Vets all across the country. Most of the Vets have in one way or another already paid a pretty high price through being deployed again and again. When you thank a Vet for their service, stop and actually talk to them about what they most remember about their time in uniform.
Please also remember that this holiday is about those who served and made it back, while Memorial Day recognizes those who served, but whose lives have ended.