Whitesburg KY
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Chance meeting with a vet left me in awe

It’s a great time to give thanks and enjoy the freedom we experience as Americans. It is also the time to thank other members of the Armed Forces, past and present, for the freedoms they have provided for us.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet an American who represents the highest levels of service to our country and epitomizes why we should never take our services for granted, and why we should all give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy each day.

I was walking through Travis Air Force Base Airport, heading for the coffee shop, and couldn’t help but notice an elderly gentleman headed toward the flight line with his wife to wait for his flight. He was dressed in business casual, and as he passed me I noticed the Medal of Honor around his neck.

Naturally I approached him and introduced myself. I told him that I had served 27 years in the Air Force, with 11 years here at Travis, and wanted to shake his hand.

Since he was with his wife on his way home, I kept the conversation short. I thanked him for his extraordinary service and sacrifice. I let him know that I was honored to meet him.

When I returned home, I had my daughter search online for where he had earned his Medal of Honor. I was in awe.

During Viet Nam, this great American singlehandedly held off waves of enemy troops, while protecting the escape of his fellow soldiers. He was subsequently captured and served two years as a prisoner of war. Talk about service and sacrifice.

This by-chance conversation made me realize how privileged I had been to have served beside so many great airmen.

I encourage all who served to pause and refl ect on why you joined the military. Give thanks to your family for their sacrifices during your service to your country.

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