I get asked all the time “Why are you so passionate about veterans?” or, “Why do you care when [veterans] don’t?” To me the answer is easy – at one point, a fellow veteran cared about me when I needed it the most. While each one of us lives very different lives, there is one common thing for those that have worn the sacred cloth of our nation; we have given so much and some gave the ultimate sacrifice. We must never forget why we raised our right hand and took that oath.
The bond we share was in full force for me this past Veterans Week. It started with our parade in Military City, USA, also known as San Antonio, TX. We teamed up with Team RWB to march alongside one another. As we marched in front of the Alamo, it was a truly breathtaking moment to see the crowd cheer as IAVA was announced. It was remarkable to be in such a hollowed place and for the community to honor those who have served. Two days later, I got on a plane and headed to IAVA’s headquarters in New York City to spend Veterans Day in the Big Apple.
When I walked in to the IAVA office I was greeted by many familiar voices and faces. Since the first thing I was able to partake in was celebrating my beloved Marine Corps Birthday, I felt right at home. Then, I jumped right in and started to help prepare for the New York City Veterans Day Parade. I was tasked with the giving out the swag and it was not until the rush happened that it all started to sink in.
I was able to meet and talk with so many vets, and to me it was a true shock and awe moment. We lead more than 800 members in the parade, and that was and is one of the best Veterans Day celebrations I have ever been a part of. It showed the meaning of #VetsRising! To be honest, there are so many more little moments that this could turn into a novel. I am still reliving those moments today.
In closing I want to leave you with this, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit,” – President Ronald Reagan.
We have to take care of our own before anyone is going to take care of us. I challenge each of you to reach out to a fellow veteran and ask how they are doing. You never know what that response will be. And, always remember why you decided to put on that uniform and what it meant to you. Though the meaning may be different for each of us, we should always be proud and never put ourselves in situations where we would discredit that. Let’s stop talking and start doing. We are #VetsRising!