On this Veterans Day, I celebrate my brothers and sisters in arms
I served in the United States Air Force on Active Duty for 20 years, 22 years in Air Force Junior ROTC, and retired as a Master Sergeant from the Air Force in February 1993. In my Air Force career, I was stationed in Washington State, North Dakota, and Alaska. I arrived in the Middle East two weeks after Kuwait was invaded and left two weeks after the war ended.
My faith has guided me through the toughest times in my life, including Desert Shield and Desert Storm. When I started volunteering with My Faith Votes in 2016, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes Christians to vote in all elections, the leadership instincts I honed during my time in the U.S. Air Force greatly influenced the way I volunteered. In 2020, I volunteered to be a state coordinator as part of My Faith Votes’ action partners network, and I am now a state coordinator for five states. I feel without the leadership experience the Lord gave me during my time in Saudi Arabia, I would not have been able to step up and take on the challenge of leading with this organization.
The highlight of my career in the military was serving in Desert Shield and Storm as a Postmaster at the largest Air Post Office, located in what can only be described as “the middle of nowhere.”
I was responsible for serving the postal needs of around 10,000 Air Force personnel and augment support for about 30,000 Army personnel. Because we were one of a few 24-hour post offices in the Middle East, we managed and processed 1.5 million pounds of mail. The internet was just in its infancy so snail mail was the primary way to communicate between military personnel and their families back home.
When Desert Storm began, our office was converted into a potential morgue. Thankfully, we never had to use the makeshift morgue because although we were attacked twice with scud missiles, patriot missiles were successfully launched to intercept them.
For our efforts and my leadership ability, I was awarded the Bronze Star, my highest military honor. This was the greatest leadership experience I could ever receive. I proudly wore the Air Force uniform for 42 years and am honored to be a veteran.
Veterans Day, not to be confused with Memorial Day which honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, pays tribute to all American veterans, living or dead, who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
On the “11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month” in 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany in World War 1, then known as “the Great War,” went into effect. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” It became known as “Armistice Day,” commemorated by many countries.
One year later, in November 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that stated, “Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations.”
It wasn’t until 1954 when the 83rd U.S. Congress renamed Armistice Day, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation and later issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation.”
Today we celebrate Veterans Day, a federal holiday still recognizing the original tie with November 11, 1918, but now honoring all veterans from all wars.
I have always known Veterans Day as a time to remember those who wore the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. The years a veteran serves create a life-changing experience built by the training we go through, the places we are asked to serve, and the growing willingness to die for our country. No other citizen can fully grasp what it means to be in the military. All veterans, no matter when they served, are brothers and sisters in arms, sharing a bond that will be with them for their entire lives.
Some went to war, some served during peacetime, some came home missing limbs, some came home with mental health issues, and some never came home at all.
Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero once said, "Poor is the nation that has no heroes, but poorer still is the nation that having heroes, fails to remember and honor them." These days, we’re bombarded with ever-changing, media-created heroes. But they pale in comparison to the real American heroes: my fellow men and women of the United States Armed Forces, who took on the duty of protecting our freedoms, our homeland, and the defenseless around the world.
Let us be a nation that remembers and honors all those who have served our country, not just on this Veterans Day, but every day for the heroes that they are.
So from one veteran to all the rest, "God bless you and God bless the U.S.A.”
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My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.
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