Veterans Day - What it Means to Me

Chazz Pratt
Occasional Contributor

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Veterans Day - a time to pay tribute and honor those who served. Many will find ways to celebrate and remember the sacrifices made by those in uniform in a manner that’s personal. A Friend, Relative, or Neighbor who served comes to mind as we take a moment to reflect on what that person did to serve our Nation.


What does Veterans Day mean to me? 


Those Who Served Before Me


My predecessors paved the way for my opportunity to serve. They did the heavy lifting so that when my turn came, things were better than previous years. I’ve always found “war stories” interesting – as in, hearing first-hand accounts of those who served long ago. Their stories help me appreciate the sacrifices they made, as well as the ultimate sacrifice made by their Brothers & Sisters in Arms. Just the other day, I was on a long, work-related road trip. I stopped to get gasoline. My vehicle displays a specific military symbol that sometimes prompts another Veteran to greet me, and today was one of those days for such a meeting. Once again, I heard an exciting story from a Veteran and his Veteran Son. As usual, I walked away amazed at the story he shared.


Those Who Served With Me


Social Media has enabled Veterans to connect or re-connect after years of wondering, “What ever happened to ________?” One of my old units had a cool Facebook page and new images of old memories show up on a regular basis. Keeping up with the people you served with brings back great memories. Those you served with often help you fill in the gaps of your fading memory. The best memories for me from time spent with this group stem from the fact that all these tough soldiers made me a better person. They pushed me farther than I could ever by myself. They set high standards and raised the bar. They helped, encouraged, and looked out for me. I hope I did the same for each and every one I served with.


Those Who Served Within My Family


There’s a long line of those who served within my family tree and maybe yours too! Veterans Day means that we pause to remember those who came before us as well as those currently in uniform. Our rich history preserved by the stories they tell, can be passed on from generation to generation. Many reading this have a family legacy of Men & Women in Uniform and you should walk proudly at the mere thought of service to our Nation.


Those Who Serve Those Who Serve


Countless individuals, organizations, and groups support our Troops. They do a great job, often filling in where other resources left off. You can count on strong support from Americans who volunteer to give back, provide assistance, or otherwise pay tribute to the Veterans. Many do this without fanfare or press releases too. Wherever there’s a Veteran in need, somebody steps up to help in some form or fashion. Paying tribute to our Veterans can take the form of individual expression or large groups showing support. No matter which route you choose, just know that anything you do is much appreciated even by the Veteran who may never know your name.


Those Who Currently Serve


Even as I write this, or while you write your comments and your thoughts, someone is defending my country – OUR COUNTRY! I’m often reminded of this fact whenever I see someone in uniform or drive past a military installation. Seeing a message on social media announces the return of Troops from deployment and serves as a quick reminder that someone has put their life on the line for me. A news story about a Military Parent disguised as a Catcher at a Baseball Game’s opening pitch often comes to mind. Not to mention, my travels through airports provide constant reminders of the important task at hand and handled professionally by our Troops! Hearing travelers stop to thank those in uniform is what I like to hear!


So, what about you? What does Veterans Day mean to you? How do you pay tribute on this important day in United States history?


To all Veterans – past, present, and future – I salute you!

1 Comment
Occasional Visitor

I am the editor of our small departmental newspaper where I work. Each month I feature a 'holiday' in my editorial.  It saddens me to say that a good many of my young co-workers either don't know or don't care about Veterans Day.  I have taken it as my mission to educate this small group.  Our young civilians need to know of our service and sacrifice. 

Happy Veterans Day to all who have served.