"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
On Monday, we celebrate Veterans Day.
And this year, our Editorial Board asked me to share a few thoughts about my time in the service.
At age 18, I joined the Navy as a Medical Corpsman.
My Dad had fought in World War II and patriotism was important to our family.
This was at the height of the Vietnam War, but my service was primarily in the Mediterranean.
Like a lot of veterans, I feel like I got a lot more FROM the service than I had to put in.
I went in as a fresh-faced high school graduate and I came out a mature adult.
In the service, I learned a sense of teamwork, of sacrifice, of looking out for my buddies…just as they did for me.
The stakes were life or death.
We HAD to be there for each other.
You may recall that many Vietnam-era vets were not treated particularly well upon returning home.
As I think about Veterans Day 2012, I'm happy to say that we now live in a different time.
Our country once again shows a deeper understanding of the sacrifices our vets have made, and they're willing to show their appreciation.
While no one WANTS to go to war, we understand that our soldiers fight for freedom.
They sacrifice comfort and personal safety so that not only Americans, but people of all nations may live free.
As a former serviceman, I'm thankful for what the military gave me.
And I'm grateful for what today's soldiers and veterans continue to give our nation.
To them we say "Thank you…for your dedicated service."
Because WBTV is "On Your Side," we encourage everyone to "Speak Out" – tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.