Congratulations! It’s an Army Veteran!
Today is Veterans Day, the day set aside for us to say thank you to all the military men and women who serve our country. This year, I have a very special story to share with all of you. Stay with me on this because, at first, it may not seem like a Veterans Day story, but it is.
For almost 17 years, I’ve known my co-worker, Jeannette, and have had the pleasure of watching her and her husband, David, raise their three beautiful daughters, Allison, Jeanne Marie, and Martha. The adorable little girls who used to come into our offices have now grown up before our very eyes, and I know without them even saying it that Jeannette and David are very proud of the women they have become.
For years, David has been the only man in the house with these wonderful ladies and their beloved late pup, Reggie. In fact, my youngest son accidentally referred to David once as Mr. Jeannette, a little nickname that we giggle about still today. But that time seems short now for David as Martha married her husband, David, last year, and, just this past September, another man joined the family when Allison married her husband, Danny.
David and Jeannette have not only welcomed another son into their family, but they’ve also welcomed an honorable Army veteran.
After receiving his degree from Purdue University, Danny served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in Alaska. Among the duties of his service, he was an Executive Officer of a paratrooper field artillery battery, a Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocate where he also instructed sexual harassment classes for his unit, and a Fire Direction Officer. For his outstanding achievement while serving in these positions, he received the Army Achievement Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
It was during this time in Alaska when Allison and Danny met. Now that his time with the Army is over, Danny now proudly continues to serve his community as a police officer in their new home state of South Carolina.
While his time in the military has come to an end, his appreciation and love for his fellow men and women in arms has not and will never cease. During their wedding reception, Danny and Allison paid tribute to the fallen soldiers of our country and those who have not yet made it home with this lovely display and poem:
This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.
The single red rose in the vase signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.
This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.
The yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand, with unyielding determination, a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.
A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
The glass is inverted. They cannot toast with us this night.
The chair is empty. They are not here.
The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.
Let us pray to the supreme commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices.
May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.
Given the events of this past election, let us not forget that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. More importantly, let us not forget that we are the land of the free because of the brave men and women who hear the call to serve our country, protecting our rights and the freedom we enjoy. While today is the day we mark on our calendars to say thank you, every day is a good day to tell our veterans and active service men and women that we appreciate and support them.
Thank you to all the men and women who have served our country, both those who have made it home to our loving embrace and those whose memories we hold in our hearts. And this year especially, thank you, Danny, for your service to our country. Welcome to the family!