November 11th is commemorated as Veterans Day in the USA and many other nations.
When I was younger I didn't think much about the holiday and wasn't sure it even applied to me.
It is commemorated on November 11th because the World War I armistice was signed on November 11th. (The eleventh month, the eleventh day and the eleventh hour). When we see veterans, we see old men, we see them in ill fitting uniforms with relatively tussled hair and not looking like the fit days of their youth. These old men seem to have a far-a-way look in their eyes and occasionally hurriedly wipe away a small tear.
Now I am that old man.
I look back at the calibre of guys I was able to associate with. We came from varied backgrounds but we learned to work together because we shared a common thread of love for our country. I was always amazed at the patriotism and willingness to sacrifice within my flying squadron.
We were young.
We were trusted with the most advanced technology in the world.
We were idealistic.
We truly did SERVE.
It was a sacrifice. For some much more than others.
Many have paid with their lives for my freedom.
My only sacrifice was time. However, because of my decision, there were many more who were included in that service and who worried and sacrificed in ways that I will never really appreciate.
I salute my parents and family who buoyed me up and worried and supported me during this time.
And to Kristi who trusted my decision to serve and never wavered while she juggled children, house and finances for eight years. In the one year we were separated we wrote to each other every day.
We spoke to each other twice that year over a MARS station with twenty other people listening to us saying: "I love you", "over, "I love you", over. As a naturalized citizen of the USA I believe her love for America is as strong and unshakable as anyones! I salute her as a true veteran.
Below is a photo I sent to Kristi while spending a year in Thailand.
I hope we remember to support the young idealistic visionaries who serve today and keep us safe.