Each year, I post this but always tweak it a bit. Please take a look. Thank you.
For Veterans Day, I’d like to thank each and every service member who has ever stepped foot on foreign soil. To keep in line with the original intent of Veterans Day, I’ll even go a step further and thank every service member who has ever had the honor and privilege of wearing the uniform.
Veterans Day is set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military, be it in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, whereas Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died during battle or as a direct result of injuries sustained during battle.
I am a veteran and am very proud of my service, but the respect I have for those who came before me and my generation is immeasurable.
The origin of Veterans Day can be traced back to honoring the veterans of WWI. I’m proud to acknowledge that my grandfather, Herbert Lee Fuller, was one of those men who fought so bravely in WWI.
Those who served in WWII were truly the cream of the crop of “The Greatest Generation.”
I have great respect and admiration for those who served in the Korean War, which sadly is often referred to as “The Forgotten War.” No war should ever be forgotten.
The veterans of Vietnam deserve our respect, appreciation, and support now more than ever. The way they were treated upon their return from is a sad chapter in our nation’s great history, but there is sufficient time to correct that mistake.
Lastly, I’ve had the honor of serving with many great warriors who valiantly served during the Gulf War and the current Global War on Terrorism. I can’t possibly name everyone I served with but I think they know how much love and respect I have for each of them.
I touched on each of the major conflicts of the past hundred years so that none of them will be forgotten. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who serve and no one’s service should ever be forgotten.
In 2011, Frank Buckles, the last surviving veteran of WWI passed away. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, WWII veterans are dying at the alarming rate of more than 1,000 a day. Quite simply, these great Americans are responsible for our very way of life. There is still time to go out of your way to pay respect for these immortal heroes. For most, a sincere “thank you” will suffice.
The next time you see a gentleman wearing a WWII, Korean War, or Vietnam War veteran hat, I highly encourage you to approach him and thank him for his service. Furthermore, if it’s a Vietnam veteran, welcome him home. It’ll make him feel good but it’ll do even more for you. I’ve been welcomed home from war on three different occasions. Each time, there was a variety of pomp and circumstance. Sadly, the Vietnam vets failed to receive such adoration.
Today, I spent the morning at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City, Alabama, with friends, family, and heroes of past wars. Unfortunately, many of those same heroes are now alone with few friends and little family, if any. It’s incumbent upon us to see that they are not alone, so I encourage you to visit your local veterans home from time to time. It shouldn’t be a chore to spend a little time with those who helped to provide the freedom you enjoy each and every day.
The most alarming issue facing veterans today is the suicide rate. Presently, a veteran is taking his or her own life approximately every 80 minutes. This rate is completely unacceptable and the identification and prevention of suicide has become a top priority of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Whether or not you support war is irrelevant; you have to support the troops. They serve voluntarily so you or your loved ones don’t have to serve involuntarily. This hasn’t always been the case.
On a personal level, there wasn’t a day that went by on my latest deployment that I didn’t receive a letter, a postcard, an email, or a package from a grateful American. Over the years, the support for the Global War on Terrorism has dwindled; however, the support for the troops has never been higher, so on behalf of each and every service member who has ever had the honor of wearing the uniform, I want to thank each and every one of YOU for your past, present, and future support. We couldn’t do what we do without it.
Jody Fuller is comic, speaker, writer, and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.