“At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day...”
Few people seem to remember that reference, but Veterans of our Armed Forces certainly do. Today we recognize the incredible sacrifice put forth by the men and women who wore the military uniform with honor and valor and distinction. We should — actually, some of us do — pay tribute to our Veterans every day, not just on 11/11. None-the-less, we take a moment today to give special attention to our veterans — those brave men and women who have fought in all this nation’s battles.
A PoliceOne member named A. Castillo wrote in an email to me late last week that as an active member of the United States Marine Corps. for three years, “my duties included those of a basic Grunt Machine Gunner and a Marine Security guard. During my time in the USMCR — eight years — I was assigned to a communications unit. The training, discipline, and leadership skills gained was been an effective tool in my 28-plus-year career. The planning, coordination, and implementation of special apprehension operations, joint surveillance and eavesdropping operations all sum up to my service to the Corps. Each operation required significant coordination and surveillance that lead not only to the successful capture and prosecution but was done without incident or injury.”
Castillo was honored among others in law enforcement as Investigator of the Year by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation in 2007. Castillo adds, “I must add my entire team for the most part was composed of prior service Army, Navy, and Marines. Blessing to all veterans — Ooorahh!”
Minnettia G. Durant, an Immigration Enforcement Agent and PoliceOne member, adds, “I am proud to have served my country in two uniforms. I did over five years in the Marine Corps and over eight years in the Army. I left active duty in 2006 and decided to serve in the Army Reserves. Upon working my way up in the enlisted food chain, I decided to put in for my Direct Commission and was promoted to Second Lieutenant in December 2008 — my current Reserve Duty station is out of Ft. Meade, Maryland.”
Officer Johnathan Hicks, a PoliceOne Member from the Keller Police Department, told me recently that he served in the Marine Corps from 1994 to 1997 and the Texas Army National Guard from 2002 to 2007. Now he patrols the streets of a community located just outside Fort Worth, Texas.
Trooper Matt Ridener with the Kentucky State Police wrote me recently as well. He said, “I’m a U.S. Army Reserve veteran — I spent six years in the Reserves. I spent one year in Afghanistan with the 450th Military Police Company from Nashville, Tennessee. During my time as an MP in the Reserve, I was fortunate enough to encounter police officers from many different places. I was deployed with county and city police officers from Birmingham, Alabama and Arab, Alabama — Nashville, Tennessee and Memphis, Tennessee — Buloxi, Missippi and Lakeland, Florida. I was also fortunate to train in Estonia with the U.S. Navy Seals and meet members of the Estonian National Police Force.”
One PoliceOne member with whom I have a fairly regular “pen pal” email dialog is still in the military and presently recovering from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. He shall remain nameless here, but he knows we’re glad he’s okay.
PoliceOne Columnist Ken Wallentine sent an email today that says it perfectly: “I urge that you fly the flag today, figuratively and literally. Perhaps even visit, remember, and clean a grave. At the very least pause to count the cost of liberty. John F. Kennedy said, ‘Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.’ President Kennedy, unlike most of us, knew the cost of war by first-hand accounting. I started my day by sending an email to a friend to express thanks for accepting the chance of death as the price for love of country. The return gratitude for being remembered was heartfelt and warm. Sometime today, track down a vet. It shouldn’t be too hard. There are 24,000,000 in the nation. Offer a simple, heartfelt ‘thank you’.”
According to a poll (posted recently on the PoliceOne homepage) of those P1 members who served in the military, 38 percent served with the United States Army, 31 percent with the Marine Corps., 17 percent with the Air Force, 13 percent with the Navy, and one percent with the U.S. Coast Guard (note that the Coast Guard has not “officially” been considered a branch of the United States Military since March of 2003 — that’s because USCG was one of the roughly two dozen government agencies assigned to the newly created Department of Homeland Security).
You can still participate in the PoliceOne poll of officers who have served in our Armed Forces, so be sure to vote. Also, be advised that Lt. Andrew Hawkes today shares a nice essay on our veterans that you can read here.
Last thing: If you’re not yet aware of these organizations, it’s worth noting that Wounded Warriors Project and Disabled American Veterans are both excellent. Certainly, there are numerous others to which you can also contemplate making a contribution — I mention these two by name only because those are the groups to which I choose to make my own donations.
To all who served in the United States Armed Forces, as special “thank you” today for everything you’ve done — and continue to do — in service to our great country.