The flag memorialized my grandfather's military service and draped his casket. I wore the patch early in my Navy career and found it with my father's tie clasps after his death. The pin honors my qualification in the submarine service, the proudest moment in my career. I wore the hat while stationed onboard the USS Alexandria (SSN-757) submarine.
I shipped out to boot camp in Great Lakes, Michigan on December 7th, 1988. 47 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Marching through the Michigan winter to chow, and the intense smell of moth balls embedded in our uniforms are memories that have stuck.
One early morning, I stood lookout on top of the submarine as we were returning to port in Groton, Connecticut. It was a crisp morning, the seas were calm, and the predawn was stunning. The massive warship rumbled at our feet, effortlessly parting the surface of Long Island Sound over the bow. This perch was a magical vantage point to greet the day.
A few short hours later I sat in my car and waited for the red light to turn green. As I watched people going about their daily routines, I realized, no one else started their day, the same way I did.
During Desert Storm, I was in a shipyard helping deliver a new submarine to the Fleet. As an added perk, I met my wife, of 23 years, while in the shipyard. The Navy has been good to me and my service was far easier than others.
Today, the U.S. honors her Veterans. Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving. Veterans Day celebrates all Veterans who have served our nation. The men, women, and families that sacrifice an ordinary life to learn the art of war and ensure the horrors never reach our citizens.
Today, there is some young kid, standing lookout on the bridge of a submarine, watching the water break over the bow, and ensuring we are safe. We don't restrict our love for Mom to Mothers Day and don't need to limit our appreciation of Veteran's to a single day.
Every day is a good day to thank a Vet.
Going Further: Who are the Veteran's in your relational network? What stories have you heard? How have you expressed gratitude for their service? How do you support those that are currently serving?