Back in the early 1990’s, before I made a mess of my collegiate academic record, I wrote letters. I mean, a lot of letters. Instead of studying, I would be writing and writing and writing to so many people, many of whom I never even met.
This was the time of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
I saw it as my duty to write letters to every address printed in the local newspapers as a show of support. Some I knew from high school, some I did not, and most were about my age.
Regardless of their reasons for serving, I don’t think many of them, if any at all, ever thought combat would result during their service.
But it did.
And I know that each of their lives was changed forever.
I have led a comfortable life, so to speak. Sure, I have skeletons and demons in my closet…who doesn’t?
Mine, though, is no comparison for those I can only image that live in the closets of my friends who chose to serve our country during what turned out to be a very difficult time.
Friends like Joe, Matt, Tom, Jason, Jim, Bobby, Phil, and Rich, who in my eyes are brave and forever heroes. Each rises and perseveres every day, never giving in to the darkness that might be chasing them or to those demons that might live in their proverbial closets.
That’s the true definition of strength and courage. Persevering no matter what.
They served by choice. They became heroes by example.
I am honored to call each my friend, and I am thankful that after all of these years, we are still friends.
Happy Veterans Day to all who have served, especially those close to my heart, with my utmost admiration and gratitude.