The Veteran salute

DeRon Talley

When I think of the word Veteran, these adjectives come to mind: brave, wise, strong, hero and trendsetter. To some of you, there may be others that you think of, but for me it's those. This time of the year always gives me chills just thinking back on how the Nick Porto's and Bob Prejean's fought and put their lives on the line so that people like myself might be able to live. It was people like them who helped secure the liberty and pride America stands for today, and for that I say thank you.

One thing I'm blessed with daily is sitting next to Prejean at work. He is a real Veteran. What I love to hear him say most is, "You know what I can't understand," Prejean says to me in the office, "is seeing someone who fought in World War II drive in one of those Japanese made cars." He says he hates to see Veterans who fought against the Japanese driving around in Toyota vehicles when they know how cruel the Japanese where then.

The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 and we are now in 2012, but Prejean still can't forgive them for what they've done to our country. It's ones like Prejean whom I can't help but respect and admire. Anytime he has a story to tell me, I sit and listen to this walking and talking history book explain details that I won't learn in school books.

You can't take for granted what they did for our country. Whether they fought in World War I or are still fighting for our country today, those men and women are fighting for more than themselves. They are fighting for me and you. I remember getting in fights as a child, but what I remember about them was that I was fighting for myself only. Not for another to gain off of my feat. That's what I find special about our Veterans. Most of them lost something in the process. Whether mental stability, or physical disability, they suffered in ways we still have yet to suffer because of what they've done to protect us while risking themselves. I define that as being a hero.

Because so many of them earned all of our respect, it's a job that will never go underemployed. It's a job that kids dream of doing – protecting the American flag and the people that make it up. Because their grandfather or father fought in the military, they want to grow up and follow in the same honorable footsteps.

For this Veteran's day, talk to a Veteran and listen to the wisdom offered and the knowledge you will gain. Thank them and show respect to them the best you can. They gave their best to help maintain a safe and free society for us Americans to live in. Again to the Veterans, I personally thank you and I salute you.

God Bless