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A debt of gratitude for our veterans past and present

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Stayce Harris
  • 22nd Air Force commander
Veteran's Day is set aside to remind us to think about the sacrifices and service of our veterans.  From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts, men and women from all walks of life have shared the common bond of their oath to defend this matter the danger or the enemy.  And for this, we owe them a debt of gratitude--not just today, but every day.  As we think about giving thanks to our veterans, it's worth a moment to reflect on who our veterans are today.  We remember our deceased veterans who have served and have been laid to rest. We remember our living veterans, from World War I to our current conflicts. The times may have changed and warfare may have changed, but the veteran is still the same hero.

Since September 11th, our country has again become acutely aware of our new veterans, the courageous men and women who are often asked to confront a faceless enemy dispersed in locations around the world.  Their ages range from the young 18-year-old Airman to the older, experienced non-commissioned and commissioned officer who has endured multiple deployments.  Our veterans are both warfighters and nation builders; they find and target terrorists while at the same time developing relationships between regional and religious leaders in order to build a peaceful nation.

We serve together every day-- Air Force Reserve, Active Duty and Air National Guard --and I can tell you we have the very best Airmen our country could possibly offer.  The Air Force Reserve has members and equipment in every one of the enduring core competencies of the Air Force and we're very proud of that.  Within 22nd Air Force, we bring a wide range of capabilities to the table for the Air Force all of which support our national security.  Combat ready, cost effective and experienced force; Reservists are trained, equipped and ready.

On Veterans Day, we all share a unique perspective of faithful service to our country and to those who have served before us.  Our nation's history is filled with examples of their brave actions and quiet courage.  Faced with different challenges, today's veterans are no different than those of the past. The theme of service before self in the Air Force - and in every service - is a constant one that binds our veterans together through the decades.  Service before self is why we owe all of our veterans a debt of gratitude...yesterday, today and tomorrow.  On this Veterans Day, let us remember and honor all those who have served, pay tribute to those we have lost and pray for the safe homecoming for those serving in foreign lands.