Yesterday I had the honor of attending the Veterans Day Program at the Veterans of Foreign Wars 813 James J. Patterson Post in DuBois. This was a joint program between the VFW, the American Legion George D. Montgomery Post 17 and the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Chapter 65 to “honor all who served.”

Dad accompanied me to this annual service this year. He is a U.S. Navy veteran having served in the Korean War on the USS Wisconsin. While I moved around quite a bit to take photographs, still the words of those speaking resounded through my mind. Words like sacrifice, dedication to country, determination, selflessness, courage, pride and integrity.

Those are all words that I would have used to describe Dad.

He has always been an example to me and my brothers of someone who gives of himself to help others. In four years of service he did three tours to Korea. The battlewagon he was on was hit but never sank. Today reminded me of the courage those men had and all those who have served before and since. They willingly go into danger to protect the innocent, to protect the freedoms and the way of life we so often take for granted.

They sacrifice time with family and friends, the innocence they had before having to face the daily reality of war, and some sacrifice their lives for country they love, for their compatriots who have become family and for their loved ones at home.

Dad brought many of those qualities into his life after the service as well. He sacrificed so that his family, his children could have more than he did growing up. He instilled that belief of taking pride in what one does and having integrity in dealing with others. He taught us to be determined in whatever activity we took on, to be the best we could be and to think of others before oneself.

I’m sure many veterans who have returned home have done the same. Instilling those beliefs and qualities in their sons and daughters so that the next generation could take up the nation’s call be it in the service, on the job or in the classroom.

These men and women who we honored yesterday have done so much more than just defend this country. They are role models and examples for the young to emulate and the old to nod their heads in approval.

While Veterans Day has come and gone that feeling of thankfulness we express should remain. We should always thank a veteran for their service. They have stood where few would choose to defend those who were defenseless.

They are our heroes.

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