"V" is for the Vigilance with which they served. It is for the Victories earned in so many theatres of operation. It stands for the Valor with which they stood watch, with which they marched into battle, with which they risked, sacrificed, and at times, suffered physical or mental anguish, or physical or verbal torture. It stands for Veteran.
"E" is for the Energy with which they served. It is for the Ever- Watchful eyes used in protecting and defending. It stands for a huge part of what is a veteran.
"T" is for the Tenacity with which they served. It stands for the Temerity shown in their service to country and others. It stands for the Trust they placed in their comrades in arms and in the people of the countries whom they defended. It is another part of the makeup of a veteran.
J. Paul Lombardo
"E" is for the Endurance displayed in their mission and service. It stands for Every call they answered, Every order they followed, Every ounce of Everything they gave in their service to protect and defend. It too, is so much a part of a veteran.
"R" is for the many Risks they took willingly to protect and defend. It stands for the Responsibility and Reliability shown in their service to country and man. It stands for the Resolution in their service to protect and defend others. Without it, veteran cannot be spelled.
"A" stands for the Audacity (the willingness to take bold risks) with which they served. It stands for All that they did to stand watch, protect, and defend, constantly putting themselves in harms' way in service to others. It stands for America, the nation they agreed to protect and defend, and the country of freedom whose colors they wore/wear. It is another aspect of the makeup of a veteran.
"N" is for the Nerve they showed in their missions to serve. It is for the Never ending spirit exhibited in their service. It is for the Nations for whom they served and/or defended. It is for the Numbers of men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in their defense and protection to our country and others. It too, is what makes up a veteran.
None of us needs a lesson in spelling to be able to put all of these letters together and get the word "veteran." Sometimes, though, we need a review lesson on what, or more specifically who, a veteran is and why it is important to stop every day, but even more so on every Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day, to honor those who served, those who serve, those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those wounded either physically or mentally, and those who returned home, and sometimes returned to various theaters of operation to answer the call again.
It was, and is, the veteran who stood, and stands, at post protecting and defending our boarders doing anything, and everything, possible to ensure the promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed to every American by our forefathers and the Declaration of Independence.
It was, and is, the veteran who selflessly answered/answers the call of duty and the call of honor to wear the colors of the military of the United States, and walk along the lines where others want to destroy that promise of freedom, and protect those lines and the people on this side of them.
It was, and is, the veteran who says good-bye to his or her own loved ones and friends, to serve and protect them and the millions whom they don't even know, but who live under the blanket of that promise of freedom.
It was, and is, the veteran who stands, marches, sometimes crawls, to do anything they could and can do to defeat tyranny, dictatorship, communism and any other type of government where the freedoms of people are denied or threatened.
It was, and is, the veteran who returns to this country, sometimes with no fanfare at all, sometimes shunned by the very nation they protected, and the ideals of that very country they stood to defend.
It was, and is, the veteran whom we must stop and honor every day, but especially each Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and every Nov. 11, because without the veterans we have only words in a document saying we deserve all of the freedoms promised and guaranteed by our forefathers. The actual freedoms we live each day were, and are, given to us by those veterans who answered the call.
So whatever you are doing this Veterans Day, especially if you have the day free from work or school, visit a cemetery to honor the veterans laid to rest there, make a stop by Tracy Plaza and look through the memorial there, visit Veterans' Park on West Third Street and say "Thank you." Take part in a Veterans Day activity, celebration, or service scattered throughout the area, and salute those who did what they did, who do what they do, to keep the promise of our forefathers alive, and who made/make the commitment to protect and defend the people and the ideals of the United States of America.
Thank you, veterans. God bless all of you, and God bless the United States of America.