Being blessed is a choice!

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day!

Nov 12, 2013

My father, Charles Hall served during Vietnam.

My father, Charles Hall served during Vietnam.

HAPPY VETERANS DAY

To many Veterans Day is just another day on the calendar.  So much so that many may go through the entire day before they even realize it is Veterans Day.  To be honest, that was me, many years ago.  Even after I served in the US Navy, I still never really thought about it to be honest.

Then about 10 years ago I was fortunate enough to be hired as a paid firefighter by a local professional firefighter.  One of my firefighter brothers served in the US Army and is an Army Ranger.  He takes his former service and that of anyone else who has served very seriously.  Watching this man thank everyone he knew inspired me to think.  It changed my views completely, especially the ones I didn’t think I had. .

I come from a military family.  My paternal great grandfather served  during WW 1.  His son, my grandfather was a SeaBee in the Pacific in WW 2.  His brother, Bob, was a Marine who saw action in Iwo Jima.  Bob lost his legs to a land mine during the War.  My dad served during Vietnam and then served another 30 years with the Indiana Army National Guard.  His wife, my stepmother also served 30 years with the Indiana National Guard.  My first cousin, served in the US Army and saw action in the Middle East during Operation Desert Shield.

US Army Ranger Everett "Mike" Cheney.

US Army Ranger Everett “Mike” Cheney.

My maternal grandfather served in the infantry in Europe in WW 2.  It’s my understanding that he actually lied about his age to enlist.  He met his future wife, my maternal grandmother, in an Army Hospital in Fort Meade Maryland where she worked as an Army nurse.

So I wasn’t ungrateful for others service, I was oblivious.  It was something that was just a part of my upbringing.  It wasn’t special it was normal.  I never thought beyond that.  But my time with Mike, the Ranger, made me think.  What some may have seen as over the top or excessive, I saw as passionate compassion.  He was not only proud of his own service but he made sure that everyone else that served understood that he was also proud of them.

Michele and I on our wedding day in 1991

Michele and I on our wedding day in 1991

I realized that just because I understand, I am proud and I am grateful of someone who has made sacrifices doesn’t mean that THEY know it.  Since then I have made it a point to tell everyone I know how grateful I am for their service.  Not just on Veterans Day, but any day.  Anytime I see a soldier  or shipmate in uniform, or wearing some type of clothing identifying them as such, I am sure to thank them.  Including and especially a man I encountered on the subway in Chicago that appeared rough and dirty and broken down and a very large and burly, long bearded biker sitting on a barstool.  It isn’t hard.  It  takes just a few minutes.  I saw these men displaying their “Vietnam Veteran” ribbons.  I simply stopped and asked, “Did you serve during Vietnam?”.  They both uttered a simple, “Yes”.  I extended my hand and simply said, “Then I want to thank you for your service” and walked away.  The smile on their faces let me know that thanks to Mike, I had touched a place in their heart that is very special to them.  Ironically, it had done the same for me.

So, to all of you who have served, or have family who have served and especially those that may have endured a loss because of a loved one’s service, I want to say  THANK YOU.  Thank you for ensuring that I am free everyday to enjoy the liberties that are not guaranteed to many others who may live elsewhere.  Your service and sacrifice more than anything is what makes me proud to call myself an American.

 

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Bradley Hall

Life Juicer! at BAM Inc.
Bradley Hall is a husband of 21 years, devoted father, firefighter, Chiari survivor, personal trainer, speaker, writer, health & fitness aficionado, business consultant and an Independent Diamond Beachbody Coach in Indianapolis, IN. He’s dedicated to helping others find direction and purpose so they may live healthy and fulfilling lives.

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