Veer Noel Hendrickson- Getty Images

This morning when I went to breakfast in the hotel where I’m staying I saw an elderly man wearing a jacket that had the Navy logo and the word “vet.”  I really felt that I needed to thank him for serving our country and ask him about his story.  The story he told me made me tear up. Neil had been a member of the Navy and served for over 30 years.  He lost his wife to the demands of the military and he had the choice to save his marriage or serve to save his country.  He picked the second.  This man had been through so much in his life, but there wasn’t a bit if bitterness in his body.  He loves his country and was so proud to have been able to serve.  People like Neil are the reason you and I are able to live free.  I’m reminded of a quote by J. Campbell that says:  “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”  When you think about it, that quote is so true.  How easy it would have been for Neil to walk away from the military, but he decided to stay because he wanted to make sure his children and grand children would be able to have a good life and live in a free country.

 

On this Veterans Day and every day, I salute Neil, my grandpa, Dad and uncles as well as all of the brave men and women who’ve given of themselves to protect our freedom.  The next time you see someone wearing a veterans jacket or hat, be sure to take a minute and stop to thank them for their service.  Without them, we may not have as many of the freedoms as we do today.