On November 11, 2011, just as on every Veterans Day, there will be millions of heartfelt expressions of thanks to those who have served. For my part, I would like to express some personal gratitude to those in my life who have served this great Nation of ours.
To my uncles Ernest and Curt (Navy retired and deceased), Ted and Leon (Army). To my cousin Roger (USMC), who I still remember walking to the bus station when he was drafted to go to Vietnam. Thankfully we were one of the fortunate families – he came home. To my cousin Victor, who was supposed to be on a plane full of marines that crashed on its way to Japan in the 1950’s. Everyone on board was killed. He was late and had missed the flight. To my cousin Alvin, who after a tough start, found his direction in life and retired as an Air Force Officer.
To my classmates and friends, Joey and Brad, and to my friend and former co-worker Mike, all Colonels in the USMC. Oohrah and Semper Fi! To my classmate, friend, and boss, Kirk (Air Force Ret), to my co-workers Gary (Vietnam vet and Army Ret), Bob (Coast Guard Ret), Tom and Mike (Army Ret). Officers all and some of the finest men a girl could be lucky enough to know and work with.
To my friends Bob and Carter who served our country and continue to serve our Veterans. God bless you two; you are amazing. To my friend “Holden” who made that rare leap from enlisted to commissioned officer – no surprise to any of us; that talent was hard to miss. (Just stop when you get to Two-Star, after that, it’s all political.)
To the hundreds of Veterans that I get to work with every single day, including my friends GIJoeyD, one of the coolest Special Forces guy ever, and Carl, who dared to teach me how to shoot defensively.
And lastly (and because I don’t want to wait until Memorial Day), in memoriam to Navy LCDR Dennis Stanley Pike (Fixed-Wing Pilot) who went missing during a flight on March 23, 1972, 20 miles inside the Laotian border. On return from his mission, he radioed that his plane was having oil pressure problems. His Commander saw him eject, but his body was never recovered and in 1978 he was pronounced a casualty of war. My father gave me Pike’s Missing in Action bracelet later that year. It remains a treasured reminder of all the young men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and of all the families who never saw their loved one come home.
To all of you and to all of the Veterans – I thank you, humbly, sincerely, and with gratitude. You are my heroes. We are not America without you.