I’m a Veteran. Here’s How I Feel About Representing America.

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

Every veteran has a different story and different experiences. Yet, there is one thing that binds us all together… service, sacrifice, and duty.

There are only 18.2 million veterans in the United States. That means less than 1% of the entire population have volunteered to serve our country and protect our liberties from those who would seek to harm us.

I love celebrating Veteran’s Day. It’s a time when many of us will meet at a local restaurant and share a meal together. We may never meet again and yet there is an instant friendship and swapping of stories — from the WWII generation all the way to someone who got out of the service just yesterday.

Veterans are not all alike. There are many different experiences among us and we don’t all believe the same things. Some are Republicans and others are Democrats. Our civilian lives are very different.

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Yet, the one thing we all veterans have in common is that we represent America and that is something very special.

My Story

Personally, I take a lot of pride in my military service. I served in the U.S. Navy from 1989 – 1993. In 1997, I became a Chaplain Candidate in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and served there until 2002. It was a different time when I served. People didn’t think about the military or veterans as much then as they do today.

911 changed all that. While I didn’t serve in wartime (except a short stint during the Persian Gulf War in 1991), I have a deep appreciation for those who have both before me and after in the long war against terrorism.

I wear my veteran hat not for me, but for them!

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A Certainty of War

Wartime vets are a special breed. They often joined the military knowing there was an ongoing war to defend our country. They deserve recognition for their bravery, heroism, and selfless duty.

They represent the finest among us and my acknowledgment, as a fellow veteran, is to simply acknowledge them for what they have done for all of us.

Why I am Proud

I love America! It’s the greatest country in the world. It’s great because we are a great people full of diversity, potential, and opportunity.

We are great because of so many who have given of their time, treasures, and resources.

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We are great because of those veterans from 1776 right through today who sacrificed it all so that we can lead the lives and have the opportunities we’ve inherited.

It was an honor and blessing to wear the uniform every day of those early years in my life. I will cherish the memories forever.

To all my fellow veterans, thank you for your service!!!

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