This Veterans Day, I’d like to send a personal message to United States service personnel past and present. We celebrate Veterans Day to commemorate the armistice reached in 1918 ending World War I. The question still remains today—how do you say thank you to people that have put your life ahead of their own? These men and women have chosen to shield others, to put their own hopes and dreams aside, to love their families from a distance, and to provide safety for people they don’t even know. A soldier’s training hardly prepares them for such sacrifice. And yet, the unflinching commitment young men and women can develop for their country never ceases to amaze me.
I myself am a veteran. The experiences I have had as a Captain in the United States Air Force, whether in combat or in times of peace, have shaped the man I am today. The unassuming bravery I’ve observed in others has inspired me during those dark times when I felt like giving up and has informed my views of this country and its countrymen. Perhaps that is the bigger question: How do we find the hope to do what we are called to do? It is in fact the hope we find in our fellow man that makes us reach for our greater self. Witnessing others do the right thing regardless of the risk. In these moments we discover the best part of the human story: the common man is indeed capable of uncommon greatness.
The gift I most want to thank fellow veterans for is hope. The hope I’ve found in their example has inspired me to live a better life. Once you serve in the armed forces, you look at the American flag differently—it becomes a reminder of a million choices made by fragile people that truly loved their country. So I thank you veterans for the sacrifices you’ve made in the service of hope. The contribution of the United States veteran is nothing short of the redemption of our country and our ideals.