My name is Larry Redmond. I am the son of a career Navy Corps who, like many others, joined the service at the age of 16 to fight in World War II. He served 20 years as a corpsman. I am the brother of a Naval Officer of 30 years, another who wanted to serve so badly he joined two branches of service but was unable to serve due to a broken collarbone and a third who served as an enlisted man in the Air Force for six years.
I joined the United States Army, serving four years in Armor. I want to tell you a story about today. TODAY – Nov. 11, 2017.
One of my sons-in-law and his father were recruited to speak at a Veterans Day Celebra-tion. I can not recall ever going to a Veterans Day event. I just thought I had more important things to do on those days, year after year. On this DAY my wife and I went to this event in support of our son-in-law and his father. It was never personal for me. All of my family listed above came home safely.
TODAY, I sat in my seat, and when the Stars and Stripes were brought into the auditorium, my eyes moistened, and tears rolled. No one had yet spoken except to announce the presentation of the Colors. By the time of the presentation of the flags, tears were running down my face. I was holding my four year old granddaughter, who looked at me with confused curiosity. She ended up going to my darling wife, but she often looked at me during the hour-long celebration. I sat in disappointment at MY FAILURE to honor and celebrate the men and women who served this great nation.
Maybe you are like me. Maybe chores, recreation or entertainment got in your way. Maybe a failure to value this great nation and those who have served in the past and those who continue to serve kept you from upholding this time honored celebration. Maybe the youth thought TODAY would just be another day with nothing special.
Maybe you wasted TODAY’s opportunity to honor those who proudly served. Maybe you wasted TODAY’s opportunity to honor those who lost their lives in service to our great country. Maybe you missed the opportunity to honor those with whom you served in the past.
Maybe, TODAY, you have focused on all the turmoil and confused values we are seeing in our times and are not sure if we should value our service members due to the chaos. I challenge you to take time to honor those who have served.
Honor them when you see them wearing their WWII vet hat in the Walmart parking lot; honor them every opportunity you have. There are not many of them left. Honor the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom veterans every chance you get, TODAY and every DAY.
TODAY, I learned a lesson and made a vow to myself that I will honor every Veteran each year. I will remember those who died, were wounded or suffered from cognitive trauma and support echelon, clerks, and those who served in time of peace.
Will you do the same TODAY?