My dear friend and fellow Veteran Bouhammer, asked me to express what Veterans Day means to me.
Well, in a word; Blessed.
God blessed me to be born American. So it, Veterans Day, means everything. No Veterans, no freedom. Period. A heavy price / sacrifice was paid for me to live the life I have been blessed to live. Three square meals a day (save for most of Ranger School, which was a self imposed condition); safety; opportunity to pursue multiple levels of education; an affluent lifestyle which in the wake of human history is ridiculously high. We live better than kings & queens of old could ever dream of. The freedoms which provide that level of lifestyle now enable our fellow citizens to worry about the most absurd things. You’re welcome, thank a Vet for the host of 1st World Problems that plague you.
My Father, a great man who I am blessed beyond words to have, faithfully served our Nation for 21 years. His own contribution to our nation include being a West Point Graduate; Airborne Ranger; Viet Nam veteran & career Field Artillery Officer. His devotion to the defense of our freedom, which I appreciate beyond words, is emblematic of millions of others who likewise faithfully served our Nation. My father’s service influenced and motivated me to do the same, to serve the nation which gave me so much. Growing up as an Army brat made me aware of the effort it takes, the constant effort, to defend our freedom.
My own service, meager as it was, made me all the more appreciative of those who serve and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis; putting their own personal freedoms aside to serve so that our personal freedoms are protected. I am now appreciative of everything. Beyond that, my appreciation is now trans-generational as I appreciate that my kids have the same opportunities I have, thanks to our Veterans.
Threats remain, both foreign and domestic, to our freedoms as they always have; just the names of the threats have changed. Same stuff; different day. Which is why we need to remain ever watchful and appreciative of those who watch and have watched over us. An incalculable price has been paid on my behalf, and for yours, by the everyday sacrifices they, the American Veteran, make. With no sheepdog, the flock is in mortal danger. A profound and heartfelt thank you to our Veterans for being the Sheepdog, keeping the Wolf at bay, for 239 years and counting. May God bless them and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Shard and Bouhammer go back 23 years to the days they served together in the same platoon and enjoying their knees in the breeze together. They have been close friends every since and visit with each other any time they can.