By a fluke of the calendar, my first Veteran's Day out of the combat zone fell on a Sunday. So, yesterday during our worship services we honored our vets by projecting the pictures from their years of service during our anthem and had them stand as their service song was sung. Many of our vets wore part or all of their uniforms, and I wore my "blues" instead of the traditional robe.
Veteran's Day this year was different for me. Maybe, for the first time, I felt like a true vet - one who had served in a combat zone. Perhaps for the first time I felt truly like a "Soldier" and not "just" a Reservist. For whatever reason, yesterday was a special day.
In the afternoon I had the opportunity to speak to a group of vets, primarily WW II vets, in Roswell. It's good to still see the inter service rivalry and esprit de corps after so many years away from the service. Our WWII vets are truly a national treasure, and the greatest generation. These are the folks who spent years away from home, had V-mail instead of email, and did not have 15 days mid-tour leave. Unfortunately, we are losing them at a rate of about 1,000 per day. I was also surprised to learn that we still have about 250 WWI vets still living.
I think that when I breathe my last and my eyes close in eternal sleep, I'll look back on my life and one of the things I will be proudest of will be my service over the past year. It was truly an honor to serve with the men and women I was with in Iraq - they are some of the finest people I have ever met.
Happy Veteran's Day.