Veteran's Day is every day

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Brian Ward
  • 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron first sergeant
Recently I had the honor of attending a retirement ceremony on Veteran's Day. Since Veteran's Day is an official government holiday, and a day off from work for most, I noticed all the empty parking lots on base as I drove to the ceremony.

It made me reflect on just the significance of the person I was going to wish well choosing Veteran's Day as the day to hold his ceremony.

As members of our nation's armed forces, we have a common bond with all those who wear the uniform today and all those who have come before us.

It always amazes me when I have the privilege to reminisce with one of our World War II veterans because they are always so appreciative of the current generation of military members.

I feel that it is us, the military members who should be in awe of what our previous generations have done to bring us where we are today.

It is never lost on me that back in their day there was no e-mail, cell phones or computers. They packed everything they needed to survive into one large pack and jumped onto a train or bus to meet up with the rest of their comrades before they were shipped out for combat.

Once on the ground they didn't have the luxury of airlift. They had to walk or march to their destinations and the fighting wasn't done with smart bombs or computer guided munitions. They used good old American courage to overcome and defeat the enemy; that was the decisive factor.

These proud warriors didn't have a down day back in their time. They were the ones writing the stories that fill our history books. They possessed a firm resolve to free the world of tyranny and to advance the principle that all men and women are created equal.

These veterans returned home to, often times with disdainful receptions. And yet, even though they were seemingly cast aside during their time of service, many of these same veterans still show their pride and loyalty to our nation by giving back through organizations. 

Yes, it is true; we are still proud, and we are still using American courage to overcome and defeat our enemies every day. However, in this day and age of smart bombs, unmanned aerial vehicles and rapid global mobility, we are defending freedom in a different way.

Let us not forget that the road we travel today has been paved with the sacrifices of so many who came before us.

I always remind newcomers, when they inprocess, to wear the uniform properly. So many have given so much to put us where we are today; we owe it to them to wear the uniform the right way every time.

This is but a small gesture to maintain allegiance to all those who have come before. After all, to be a veteran is to realize it is not about the name sewn over your right breast pocket, it is about the name sewn over your left.