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Hveterans dayappy Veterans Day!  To all those who have worn the uniform, as a nation we take this day to thank you for your sacrifice and service. My appreciation for the men and women I personally served with is beyond measure. Military service is not a right but a privilege, and to serve is a calling that the best among us have answered throughout our Nation’s history.

Understanding full well that one’s call to service could very well lead to their death, so many great men and women have stepped up, raised their hand, and sworn to defend our Constitution.
I remember some 36 years ago, almost to the day, meeting young men from across the country, from every walk of life, as we embarked upon our mutual journey. As a cohort unit we were destined to spend the next three years together. The bond we formed still holds strong today. Even though we have differing philosophies and values, if you were to strike one of us, we would all strike back to protect our comrade. That is what being a Veteran is all about – merging oneself into the group with a common goal of protecting our Nation, its values and way of life.

Next to being a father to my daughter, my military service is my proudest achievement. I have walked the battlefields of Gettysburg, Antietam, Normandy, and Bastogne, among others. I have seen the gun emplacements on the beaches, the cliffs at Point de Hoc, the killing fields of the Civil War, and questioned whether I have the courage to do my job as a soldier. What I learned in Iraq, as I am sure have many generations before, is that fear is always there. But fear of failure, not of the mission but of letting down the man or woman to your right or left, will always overcome fear.

For generations before and those to come, our young men and women have answered the call to serve. It is our duty as a nation that the principles and values of our founding documents – life, liberty, justice, and equality – will always hold true, and that we will defend them against all enemies both foreign and domestic. That just as 166 young men did some 36 years ago at Ft. Benning, Georgia, we as a nation must move forward and work to ensure that all Americans reap the benefits of this great Nation.

We must ensure that this Nation continues to be the light in a dark world, that love overcomes hate, and the words “All Men are Created Equal” is not relegated to mere words on a piece of paper, but remains the mantra of who we are as Americans. Freedom from oppression, equality and justice for all, a nation for all who want a better life. These are the principles I served under and continue to fight for.

We as a nation owe that to all who have served. Let us never forget our men and women in uniform. Happy Veteran’s Day.