While we honor and help aging veterans everyday, there is always an echo of their younger selves that we can hear if we listen closely. It is the strong, vibrant young man or woman who left their school, their family, their friends to take up arms and travel to exotic places following orders from commanders they may have only just met.
Learning curves were shallow. Depending on the situations they found themselves in, there wasn’t much time to assess, only time to react. So many never returned to those families and friends. This is the time each year when we pause to remember, honor and reflect on those that made the ultimate sacrifice.
I would also encourage everyone to remember the ones we lost later, after the battle due to depression, PTSD, suicide, substance abuse, and Agent Orange exposure. Many never received the support and treatment they deserved for their invisible wounds and the least we can do is recognize and remember them now.
I am honored to be the keynote speaker of the Memorial Day Ceremony at Culpeper National Cemetery on Monday at 11am. I hope to see some of you there!