I would like to express my pride and appreciation to all who have served our country in the Armed Forces. It’s an honor to be a part of such a distinguished group that promotes the values that made the USA great. I think back fondly on my time as a Marine and realize I will probably never experience that same kind of camaraderie and teamwork. The experience made me a much better person and is something I try to live up to a on a daily basis.
I send a special thanks to those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Your sacrifices have made us all safer. I’m certain you will continue to achieve great things whether you decide to stay in or to join me in the civilian world.
Vice President, Investor Relations, Oil and Gas Company
USMC, Captain, Infantry (1992-1997), 2d Battalion, 3d Marines
My father in-law was a veteran of WWII where he served in the Asiatic/Pacific Theater. He enlisted after Pearl Harbor while a senior in high school. I was very proud of him and really enjoyed spending time listening to his stories. Even with macular degeneration, he managed to type up his memories and his service record. I made it my mission to help him get his medals as he had never received them. And we accomplished that. He truly was a man from the Greatest Generation. He never knew a stranger and was always there to help anyone who needed it.
My son served for eight years in the USMC, and did a tour of Iraq. I’m very proud of my son’s service to his country, but I also know that the son we sent over there is not the one who came home. Although this is not all negative, as a mother you never want your child to have war experiences. But at the same time, I know he was well trained to do his job, and he was supported by his fellow Marines.
I am very proud of both of these men in my family. Some of the hardships they endured, like 48 hours straight of being shelled while in a foxhole on a beach in the South Pacific, or being in 116 degrees in the desert while wearing full combat gear, Kevlar vest, and ammo vest in blowing desert sand and living with such creatures as the camel spider, we can’t even relate to.
What these men, Our men, and their families went through for us, it seems we could never repay. What I try to do is to always walk up to anyone in a uniform and thank them for their service. Even if all they are wearing to identify them as military is one of those hats.
God Bless our veterans for all they gave to our country. No matter the politics of the time, these men and women didn’t even think twice about putting their lives on the line for all of us. And God bless the families at home. Not only do I want to give them my gratitude, but I also want us as a country to make sure to give them all the benefits and pay that they deserve.
Pin-Ups have been a part of American history especially throughout the military. It’s most iconic period was during WWII. Those images reminded those that were fighting what they were fighting for and gave them the strength to continue fighting on. In honor of that history I love creating pin-ups and think they are still just as important today. These pin-ups represent how thankful I am for the sacrifices those in the military make to protect our country and our freedom!
At the tender age of nineteen, I got my first “real” job. Sure I had newspaper routes, hardware store clerk and gas station attendant duties prior to this job, but this was “real.” I was hired as a Fleet Service Helper, a cleaner for Trans World Airlines, a premier airline in that day. Within 3 months, I was transferred to a Ground Service Helper position, a “gas man.” That involved a 10 cent an hour pay raise and liberation from “honey bucket” duties!
Up on the wings, fueling aircraft, I would occasionally visit with the Flight Engineer. I soon recognized that airline operations were good, but working as a cockpit crew member was more desirable than any ground job. I joined the U. S. Air Force and enlisted as an Aviation Cadet. After a seven year career in the USAF piloting KC-97 and KC-135 aircraft, I returned to TWA as a Flight Crew member and retired 28 years later as a B-747 Captain.
My work experience taught me many things. Don’t be afraid to start a career on the bottom. A good work ethic will give opportunities for promotion. The military gives lots of responsibilities and authority to young and somewhat inexperienced personnel. That doesn’t happen in the civilian world. Feel proud in what you do. You should feel as good about doing an excellent job as a Captain as you did as a Cleaner. Remember, “A chain has many links; all links must be strong or the job will not be done with success.”
Welcome home to the United States. Hopefully your future will feed on good events you may have experienced.
(My 22 year old grandson is visiting on leave with his bomb sniffing dog, “Issi” after their tour in Afghanistan. He will soon be experiencing a civilian transition when his tour is up next year.)
“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” ― C. JoyBell C.
Opening my eyes this morning, the first thing I saw was my room, as humble and unchanged as ever. I heard the cliché bird chirping of my alarm going off and I groaned as I forced myself out of bed. There is nothing to be afraid of in my morning. The monotony is satisfying and something that I know will stay consistent.
As a protector of this country, there is not that satisfying monotony. Waking up in a different area constantly, to new sounds and strange people, is normal. During times of fighting, fear is evident from the time your eyes open to the time your eyes close.
Fighting for something you consider worthwhile is the most courageous endeavor you can face. Anyone can become accustomed to routines, but it takes a true hero to be willing to face the unknown. As warriors, fear is not a wall, but an obstacle that can be taken over with willpower. There is nothing more valiant than to fight for what you believe in. Thank you for putting yourselves into the unknown, and being the epitome of strength.
Wendell was a Flight Instructor in the B-17 during WWII. Twenty-five years ago he saw something that few others saw from a long-haired, want-to-be metal head, social reject. His kind words helped steer me onto a path towards becoming an Air Force pilot. His widow told me she framed three letters written to Wendell. One writer stated that he would follow Wendell “To hell and back.” The second writer simply told Wendell “to go to hell” and my letter that I sent to his family after he passed away. If Wendell taught me anything, it is to “Not be afraid to live your dreams.”
Bert was a Marine in the South Pacific assigned as a Crew Chief to Pappy Boyington’s outfit. Bert’s simple stories of life and death drive home the reality of those desperate times. Bert has just celebrated his ninety-seventh birthday and the one constant in life other than his faith a Higher Power is the oath he made to himself as a starving Marine. Never pass up chow.
Danny was drafted to fight in Vietnam. He served his tour and returned home to a land divided. He was one of those who directly suffered the taunts and spit of fellow Americans. The shaming nearly ended his life. In the months after he returned, Danny threw all of his medals into the river. I pray that no one ever has to relive the days when one felt shame to wear the uniform in public. After Vietnam, Danny discovered that the key to life is love.
I served for thirteen years as an Air Force C-130 pilot deploying to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. We all join for different reasons. Some want adventure while others do it for the benefits. Many didn’t have a choice because of a draft or it was their only way out of a bad place in life. The reasons are as numerous as the stars. We learn tradition, honor, and sacrifice in basic training, our Training Instructors teach us that the only way to survive is to rely on those in the fight.
When the chips are on the line, the odds are stacked against us and it is time to “Go Downtown” we all realize that we don’t fight for nation, glory, fortune or fame. We fight for the person next to us; we move mountains for someone who is in a bad way just because we know they would do it for us. We live by the code of “No One Left Behind” and dare the enemy to try to stop us.
I love the phrase used by Vietnam Veterans, “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.” When a person takes the oath and wears the uniform, they stand on the path started by our forefathers at Valley Forge. Like Wendell, Bert, Danny and all those who served, you are an American Hero. I salute you, encourage you and pray for you. Give Em Hell!
The day after we moved into my Long Beach neighborhood in 2001, an elderly man hobbled across the street to help my very pregnant wife wheel the trash bins out to curbside. “The old man” living across the street was a World War II combat veteran. When I learned he had fought against the Japanese in the SW Pacific, I feared the worst because of our Japanese ancestry.
Twelve years later, I was honored to have been asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral…to carry him on his last journey on this Earth. I was ashamed to have even thought he would show hatred towards me twelve years earlier after having fought for our country.
His handshake was always firm and warm and he loved me as his own son. He taught me forgiveness as even he had learned to forgive in spite of having given his all on “those stinking islands”, referring to Guadalcanal, Rabaul and Okinawa.
Now he is gone. But then and now, I and my two young kids – whom he treated so lovingly – thank him for all we have today. I prized his friendship, wisdom and most of all, his sacrifices for his country so long ago – so much so that I named the child my wife was carrying that day twelve years ago after him. It was an honor to name my son Jack.
None of what we have today would be possible if not for not for the unselfish sacrifices of our men and women in uniform…such as you. Because of our armed forces, we have food on our tables, freedom and are free of tyranny in our daily lives. While not perfect, we live in the greatest country in the world because of you. Let no one tell you any different.
I am proud to be an American in every sense of the word. I still get chills when I sing the Star- Spangled Banner and I have been singing it for many years. An acknowledgement of “Thanks” to both you and your families. To our soldiers for risking your lives and to your families for not having you around. I have always loved an old Trace Adkins song called “Til the Last Shot’s Fired.” I have shared a small bit for those who are not familiar.
“Say a prayer for peace For every fallen son Set our spirits free Let us lay down our guns Sweet mother Mary we’re so tired But we can’t come home ’til the last shot’s fired.“ -Trace Adkins
To all the men and women still serving this country, I hope you return home safe and soon.
We take for granted each day what an amazing place we live in, and more importantly, why this place is so great. it is so because of our service men and women I’d like to thank each of those who helped create such a great country and those who are still serving to keep us safe and free. What each of you is doing matters and is appreciated. Thanks for your service.
To all the veterans out there that are just sitting on the couch maybe not doing what they need to be doing, that are not really getting out there because they’re thinking about things that they could be doing at this point in life but can’t because of their injuries,
Find something you used to do in the past. Try it again. See if it works out for you and if not…try something new.
Josh S. (veteran of the United States Marine Corps, athlete, served as alternate Captain for the U.S. Paralympic Team that won the gold medal at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Scored the game winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Russia in the gold medal game)
My grandfather served in the war flying a Blackhawk helicopter and received a purple heart for his services. Sadly he passed away before I was born, so I never got to meet the man that helped defend our country and grant us the freedoms that I take for granted every day. I have heard so many amazing stories about who he was and what he accomplished in life and I have no doubt that today’s warriors are of the same caliber.
I never got the chance to thank my grandfather for his service and dedication, but I do have the opportunity to thank you guys. So thank you and without your selflessness and strength, Americans would not have the opportunity to make advancements in technological, medical, humanitarian, environmental, and numerous other fields that make our country great.
Never forget that you are the reason America is great.
May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door. (Irish Blessing)