I continue to be more in awe of veterans and their service and sacrifice every year.
This past year I was honored to be a Guardian for five World War II or Korean War veterans on three different Honor Flights. These people are amazing. Even in 95 degree Washington, D.C. heat and delayed flights, they don't complain. They just endure and smile. I loved hearing their stories and memories.
My community will soon be home to a wounded warrior named SSG Jason Gibson and his wife, Kara. SSG Gibson lost both of his legs at the hip, as well as severely injured his arm, while serving in Afghanistan. Homes for Our Troops is building him a fully accessible house, and will hand him a key for it next month. Jason and Kara will welcome their first baby any day now, and they will be a wonderful addition to our community.
Tomorrow at a Veterans' Day program I will read biographical information about two Vietnam Veterans who were killed in action, both graduates of the small school district where I teach. The ceremony for William Edward Price and David Herbert Fisher will rededicate the two memorial plaques that have been on the school's front lawn since the late 1960s. They are now located in a much more visible area at the high school's front entrance. As I prepare to talk about them on a personal level with notes gathered from their families that say things like, "he had a terrific smile", "he loved his mother in law's pecan pie", or "he wanted to be a professional baseball player someday" I am hit hard with how very sad and personal every military death is. Then to think that just during the Vietnam War there are over 58,000 sets of gut-wrenching personal information just like that.
I hope you veterans reflect on your service and are proud of it. I hope you decide to record your memories, the good ones and maybe even the bad ones, so that others forever know what you did. This page can give you some guidance if you need a place to start.
Be sure to take advantage of the unbelievable list of discounts and free meals tomorrow. You earned it. Oh and if you visit a school this week for a Veterans Day program, I would love to hear about it.
Happy Veterans' Day!!