Honoring the Sacrifice of Veterans; Past, Present and Future
A Guest Column by State Senator Frank Hoagland
November 9, 2017
I knew I wanted to be a Navy Seal when I was only a five year old boy. What I didn't know then was the pride, pain, sacrifice and deep love of country it would instill in me as the man I am today. I joined the Navy in 1982, and became a Navy Seal in 1990, retiring in 2003.
The people I’ve met throughout my military career have come from all different backgrounds, regions and walks of life. They are proud, courageous and brave men and women who do not seek recognition or acknowledgement for their service. Their families embody strength and resilience. Some of my fellow brothers and sisters returned home, others paid the ultimate sacrifice. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of them and reflect on their courage and admire their determination to defend our way of life.
On Veterans Day, we as a community have an opportunity to recognize and thank those who have nobly served our country so that we are able to uphold the precious freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. As a veteran myself, I know the sacrifice made by loved ones back home, I know the searing pain of losing a comrade, and I know the mental, physical, emotional fatigue it can cost a service member – but what I know above all else is that serving my country was the greatest privilege and honor of my life.
Veterans Day is an opportunity to pause and thank a neighbor who served many years ago, a reminder to stop a stranger in uniform and shake their hand, a chance to listen to the stories of those who have served and follow along with their experiences that helped shape this free world we are so blessed to call home.
I hope this day serves as a reminder to you of our freedom, and that pride wells up within you because you know that you have brothers and sisters on the front lines defending you and your family. Please join me today in thanking a veteran in your life, as well as those you've never even met, because even if you don't think of them often, you are the center of their thoughts as they serve.
To all my fellow veterans, thank you. We are grateful for you, and we honor you.