Today has, rightfully, been set aside to honor the men and women who have stood in the breech between us and those who would destroy us, devoting precious years in the very prime of their young lives to protect the country, the people and the way of life they love.
They all made tremendous sacrifices, up to and including the ultimate one of giving their lives for their country. They suffered the loss of limbs, sight and even their sanity, or at the very least, the grinding loneliness of separation from family, loved ones and everything that was dear and familiar to them.
They served in desolate places with culture completely foreign from anything they'd ever known, strangers in a strange land where you can't tell the civilian population from the enemy and everyone you meet is a potential killer.
They have been shamefully treated by stoned hippies not worthy of carrying their rucksacks.
They've stood the outrageous criticism of an agenda driven media, reporters who are able to sit in their safe, ivory towers and compose their tripe only at the expense of those who they criticize, magnifying every perceived fault, many times ignoring overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
They've tolerated the partisan crap of jaded old political hacks like Harry Reid, who shoot off their foul mouths without even considering the ramifications or the consequences. "The surge is not working, the war is lost," and this while we had troops in the field, words that border on treason in my book.
They live for months in desolate, isolated outposts surrounded by three hundred and sixty degrees of hostility, constant danger and always the persistent nagging of wondering if they'll make it back home to the faces that are so indelibly etched into their hearts.
I think there is a common misconception about the men and women in our military, that they have an extra gene or some isolation mechanism that shuts out the loneliness.
Don't you ever believe it, they miss their homes and families just as desperately as we would if we were subjected to the same conditions and sometimes it gets the better of them.
I'll never forget on my first trip to Iraq how one of the troops serving at an oven of a forward operating base, FOB, in the middle of nowhere got tears in his eyes when he showed me the picture of his little girl back in the states.
Or the night in Baghdad when one of the toughest looking men I'd ever laid eyes on came in the tent we were using for a dressing room and broke down and cried like a baby.
No, they have no shield against loneliness; they have no extra defense against missing their spouses and children. They are just as susceptible as other human beings.
The difference is the love for and their desire to protect the Unites States of America and the sacred oath they took to do so, the fierce loyalty, the no man left behind mentality and the sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.
Of all the stages I've been blessed to stand on around the world, none brings more satisfaction and humility than some makeshift elevated flat spot on a truck bed or an airplane hangar, or a straight back chair in the middle of the handful of troops stationed at some forgotten FOB where
I can say with certainty and pride...
"I bring you greetings from the United States of America"
And so today, to all you veterans who have served, to all you who are currently serving and to all you young men and women who will serve in the future, from one who travels this nation from coast to coast and border to border every year, and knows the hearts of my people, the common working folks...
I bring you greetings from the United States of America, a grateful nation pauses today to say thank you veterans and may Almighty God bless our military.
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem
What do you think?
God bless America