Veterans deserve praise on their day
November 10, 2010
Throughout my time as a public affairs Soldier, I have encountered and interviewed many interesting people with important jobs. Those jobs include everything from mortarmen and Special Forces Soldiers to governors and senators.
But no interview I've done has impacted me quite like one I did a few months ago.
It was back in September, I had the pleasure of meeting a World War II veteran, former infantryman Fred Dallas. At the time, he was kind enough to help me with an article I was writing about National Prisoner of War Recognition Day.
He told me his story and humored my questions as I sat listening to this remarkable man. You see, Dallas was eventually caught by the Nazis during a patrol and sent to a forced-labor camp.
When I told him I thought his story was unique and inspiring, he spoke frankly to me. Dallas stressed that his being a Prisoner of War might be considered a treacherous situation. However, he handled it like any of his brothers-in-arms would - day to day, using thoughts of his Family to get the strength to keep soldiering on until he was freed.
A few months after his capture, Dallas was liberated and returned safely to the U.S.
The interview with Dallas impacted me unlike any other interview I had ever done. His story resonated with me. I could only imagine how I would handle such a dire situation. Needless to say, I couldn't stop thinking of his story.
It was that life altering, once in a lifetime meeting that reminded me there are more than Iraq and Afghanistan veterans out there. Although time has moved forward and our memories have faded, it is important we don't forget our veterans.
For me, that is why Veterans Day is important. It is a day we, as Americans, use as a reminder to give thanks to our Families and friends who have served. Believe me, there are more veterans around than you might suspect.
Most World War II veterans are in their 90s, followed in longevity by Korean and Vietnam War veterans. So, many of our veterans will not be around much longer.
However, there are still other veterans out there like Desert Storm and Panama veterans who are doctors, teachers and civic leaders. You might even work with people who you wouldn't expect to be veterans.
It matters not in which era each veteran served, but rather that they did indeed serve. Weapons and tactics have changed throughout the years, but each era had men and women who would give their life (many died) defending justice and liberty. Veterans are bonded to each other through honor and dignity for having answered their nation's call.
Suffice to say, I will never have the pleasure of meeting every veteran, but that won't stop me from thanking my brothers and sisters in arms.
On Nov. 11, I will do my part and proudly fly my U.S. flag outside my house and I will thank all of my Family and friends who are veterans for their service and sacrifices. If I run into any veterans I have yet to meet, I will graciously thank them for their service.
I hope every veteran receives some form of thanks on this day designated to recognize them for their sacrifices. I honestly believe Americans won't turn a cold shoulder to its real life heroes.
So I leave you with one final request: please, if you know a veteran, don't forget, them this Veterans Day, because in the end, a "thank you" can mean more than you might suspect.