Celebrating Their Sacrifice

By Colonel Patrick Terrell

Colonel Patrick Terrell served 27 years on Active Duty in the United States Army, retiring this year.  During his military career, he served in command and staff positions at all levels from Platoon Leader to the Joint Staff and Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For many Americans, holidays have become something to look forward to, because they mark the beginning of special season like summer, a day off from work, or the chance to get a deal on some big purchase. Too often, we fail to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday.

When I think about Veterans Day, I never think about it as being my holiday. Sure, I spent my entire life committed to the Army; I served in Germany at the end of the Cold War, spent countless days and nights away from my family, and deployed to two wars. No, I remember and celebrate those who came before me, those who served alongside me, and the families who watched their sons and daughters go off to defend our nation. For me, Veterans Day is a day to celebrate a special bond that I have with my family members and my brothers in arms. I set aside a moment each year to picture my grandfather and his brother on a train for the first time as they leave the family farm to go to World War I, and the stories my father would share with me about his time in the Army Air Corps during World War II. I take time to remember the soldiers I served with who joined from all over the country: Louisiana, Alaska, Puerto Rico, New York, Idaho and probably every other state and territory. It reminds me that America’s greatness in not born out of what we manufacture or the wealth we produce, but rather out of the sacrifice of our people.

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