Every year on Veterans Day, we reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of those men and women who have worn the uniform of this great nation. Veterans are part of a select group of American patriots. This is not my opinion; it a mathematical fact! At any given time, less than 1 percent of Americans serve in the U.S. military.
That means 99 percent of our fellow citizens rest comfortably at night, go about business without fear, and peacefully raise families because America’s veterans were willing to endure extreme hardship, long separations from loved ones, to protect all of us.
I grew up in a traditional family that valued hard work, being a good neighbor, and keeping your word. My father was a veteran, and although he didn’t talk much about his service, he made certain we always showed veterans proper respect. My father believed one of the exceptional gifts America offers is the gift of opportunity; we could become anything if we worked hard enough.
My father taught me this amazing gift was protected by the men and women who made enormous sacrifices for their families, neighbors and even people they didn’t know. They didn’t do it for money or fame; they did it because it was the right thing to do. My father taught me, and I believe, veterans deserve our respect and unending gratitude.
In 1993, I chose to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs for those reasons. It was my opportunity to repay the debt owed veterans for the sacrifices they made to protect our way of life. Even though my dad is gone, I hope I make him proud every day of my service to those values we hold dear. My dad received care at a VA clinic in Florida and in at one in Delmarva.