Veterans Day

I decided to go for a walk around the...FOB. At several locations along the wall, we have guard towers that are manned 24/7.... As I got closer, one of the guards shined his red lens flashlight at me. "Who goes there?", he asked.

"It's the chaplain," I responded. "Oh, hey sir" the soldier said, surprised. "What brings you out here so late at night?"

Climbing up the ladder to the tower I said, "Well, it's a nice night out, so I decided to check up on some of my favorite soldiers."

Barely able to make out his silhouette in the darkness, I could sense the soldier didn't quite know how to react to that statement. Then he said matter-of-factly, "Yeah, but sir, we stay up late so you don't have to."

From Staying Up Late by Chaplain Don Williamson, USA, Summer 2008 Connected newsletter

Happy Veterans Day to all our military men and women! Each and every one of you "stayed up late" in defense of our nation's priceless freedoms--at great expense to yourselves. In all too many instances, you have spent years away from loved ones and friends and home, all while willingly putting your life on the line in defense of liberty.

You stormed the beaches of Normandy or Iwo Jima. You found yourself in foreign lands such as Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

You endured extreme desert heat, steamy jungles, or bitter cold, slogging through mud, sand, or snow, and often lacking adequate shelter, sleep, food, or water. Whether you flew, sailed, or marched--or pulled guard duty in the middle of the night--thank you for your enormous sacrifice!

Especially on Veterans Day--but just as true the other 364 days each year--thank you!

A grateful nation sincerely thanks you for your faithful military service to the United States of America, and for your part in keeping the fires of freedom burning brightly.