It’s hard to believe we are entering the last quarter for 2016. It has been a busy year, and your Air Force Association has been doing great things. I want to talk about one in particular.
A few months ago, Col (Ret) Paul Bailey mentioned the Vietnam Era Service pins being made available through the Department of Defense for service members of any branch of who served anywhere during the period of the Vietnam War. Unlike those serving today and in recent past in wars in the Middle East, many who wore our Nation’s uniforms during the Vietnam era were met with disdain and words of hate. For too many years, our Nation failed to recognize their heroism, their sacrifice and their selflessness. At Paul’s urging, we conducted a General Membership meeting for the express purpose of handing out Vietnam Era Service pins to deserving members and to bring our membership together for the first time in many years. For those of you who missed it, you missed a wonderful evening.
But the lesson is an enduring one. We offer our thanks far too seldom. So let me take advantage of my position and the opportunity to write this article to express mine to so many.
To those of you who served in and during the Vietnam War, thank you. To those of you who served in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operations Iraqi Freedom, Korea, the Cold War, World War II and any of the dozens of operations that have occurred around the globe over the past several decades, thank you. For the hundreds of thousands on whose shoulders so many of us stood during our time in uniform, thank you, thank you, thank you..
While individually, we can all stand proud that we have stood for something larger than any of us, only through collective efforts of millions of men and women over two and a half centuries have we been able to secure and ensure the freedom and liberties every US citizen enjoys today. It has taken all of us and all of the millions who served before us, and the hundreds of thousands serving today. And It will continue to require the heroism, sacrifice and selflessness of millions more in the future.
So when you have the chance, no matter where or how brief, please take the opportunity to thank those who have served and are serving. And encourage those who might.
In the meantime, thank you all!