Veterans Day is a special holiday for our country, especially for those who have served. I want to share some thoughts on what this day means to me, as it can be summed up with how I felt after every one of my 65 combat missions.
Before I took off in combat, there was an awful lot of fear, anxiety and doubt. But afterwards, there was excitement, joy, pride, and most of all, gratitude.
And gratitude, most of all, for the opportunity to live in the most amazing country in the world, the United States of America. A country where we can plant our flag with pride and not sell out to our enemies. A place where we can raise our children under a democracy – where freedom, excellence, work ethic, meritocracy and high standards are rewarded.
Today, many of you are going to go out of your way to say thank you to our veterans. And you’ll do it with appreciation, humility, and grace. While this is so important, I would kindly ask you to go beyond just thanking our troops. I want you show your thanks by emulating what our soldiers fight for.
I believe if we truly want to say thank you to the Americans who fight for our country, then we need to be the type of Americans worth fighting for.
Wake up every day with honor and realize that you don’t need to wear a uniform, carry an M-16, or fly an F-16 to serve. You can do it every day in your communities, behind the scenes.
Give to your church or charity. Help out the needy. Mentor a wingman in need. Coach a struggling peer at work. Be a good parent, friend, and neighbor. Spread positivity, courage, and kindness.
That’s how you can make a guy like me, and all our troops, proud to serve and wear the US flag with honor, despite those who seek to break down and degrade its values.
That’s how you can make this Veterans Day, and every day, a great day.
Never Fly Solo,
Lt Col (ret.) Waldo Waldman