Yesterday I was honored to be among the marching warriors that carried the significant banner of the Wounded Warriors Project.
This is a very special event, and even though it was part of the Veteran's Day parade in New York City, it held a special place for me and caused me to truly reflect on the selfless service that our soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, and coast guard people had given of themselves to protect our freedoms. Many of the marchers were people that I did not personally know, but the camaraderie between all was amazing.
We walked up Fifth Avenue, starting on 28th street and ended on 56th street. All along the way we waved our flags: Old Glory, MIA, POW, and Wounded Warriors. The cheers from the crowds lining the street were at times deafening, and those that I was with held hands as we walked and did not even attempt to hide our tears that at times flowed freely. We were being acknowledged and we were being thanked. Some of the children that walked with their warrior mothers and fathers looked in astonishment as the people yelled toward the marchers while the bands were playing all of the service songs. I walked with my friend for more than 50 years who had served in the Marines and another to my left that served during WWII who was barely able to walk without assistance. There were many wounded with missing body parts and they cried copious tears at the thought that the shouts from the sidelines were sincere, and each of us took the cheers personally.
We served our time in service to our country; many remember the past when our warriors returned from Vietnam. They were spit upon, cursed and laughed at, and yet no one seemed to hold any grudges or express any anger. I met with other men that I served with in the USAF, and though we all joked with each other about which service was more important, we all knew that we had done our part to preserve our right to liberty and freedom.
Next time you see a veteran, wave and say thank you. God Bless America...and don't you ever forget it!