Another Veterans Day is upon us, and as with last year, it arrives at a time in which the Army finds itself in the midst of combat operations on foreign battlefields.

Once again, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and sons and daughters have had to say goodbye to loved ones; never truly knowing if they will return healthy, whole or alive.

In our saddest moments, we have had to watch the flag-draped coffins of our brothers and sisters-in-arms make their way to their final resting places.

In other, more complicated moments, some of our fellow troops have had to deal with the mental and physical trauma that comes with "making it back."

Like last year, this has been a time in which terms like "Soldier suicide" or "Soldier shooting" have been part of our military lexicon.

Topics such as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the economic recession, and BRAC have carried over into this year as well.

Yet in spite of these somber and saddening issues, as this Veteran's Day approaches, there still seems to be a prevailing sense of hope in the installations.

Throughout Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem, Soldiers, Civilian employees and Family members have been working to help each other through these trying times.

Whether through recent events like the Fall Festival and Halloween trick-or-treating festivities, or today's Gillem Gallop race, the emphasis on maintaining a strong community remains a priority on both installations.

In regards to professional concerns, military personnel have combined resources and networks - in addition to the resources already being put forth by commands - to help each other find new employment or help each other in moving to new locations.

While the closing of the installations is inevitable, it seems as if the personnel of Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem have decided to leave no man or woman behind when the gates close.

When dealing with Army wide issues such as Soldier suicide, domestic violence, substance abuse and drunk driving, leadership and members of both installations have continued to fight against these social ills; an example being the balloon release Oct. 27 in support of combating domestic violence held at Hedekin Field on Fort McPherson.

So although there are many reasons to be reflective and introspective on this year's Veterans Day holiday, we should all remember that there are things we can be happy and proud of as members of the Army Family.

On a day for honoring the contributions of servicemembers both past and present, let's not forget that despite the hardship and darkness that might surround us, that we have always made it our mission to serve as beacons of light.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16