Veterans Day means something special to those who have served. The Oath of Enlistment hangs on my home office wall next to medals, achievements and other accomplishments I’ve earned throughout my career.

The oath is different – it’s not an achievement or accomplishment, but a reminder that I had a responsibility as a soldier to defend the Constitution of the United States. For me now, it means that I have responsibilities and an obligation as a Veteran.

Army Veteran James W. Huckfeldt Jr.

Veterans Day is a celebration when I grill steaks and sit around the fire pit telling stories about my time in the Army. Celebrating Veterans Day is important, as it shows the next generation how we should treat those who served and how to indulge in the festivities to honor those who didn’t come home.

It’s a time for reflection and, as I’ve dedicated my professional life to helping my brothers and sisters receive the most from their benefits of service, it’s also a silent affirmation that more needs to be done.

I usually receive countless, “Thank you for your service” comments from family, friends and those in my community, as well as across the country. I know they mean well. It takes a special person to sign up for something others consider extreme, dangerous and unknown for years of your life.

But I discovered who I was by facing those challenges. I matured and learned how to lead. I traveled the world and went to college as a result. I loved my time in uniform and the worst day of my service was when I took off the uniform for the last time.

All I ever wanted to be was a soldier. For nine awesome years, I lived my dream. It always feels like I should be the one thanking those thanking me.

“All I ever wanted to be was a Soldier, and I lived my dream.”

Celebration of who I became after reciting the oath

Veterans Day also is an opportunity to share the benefits of service with our kids. Those include learning a trade, free college tuition while serving, the G.I. Bill, VA Home Loan Guaranty, and countless other perks for enlisting for a few honorable years.

I see young men and women accruing thousands of dollars in student debt to finance a college education while I’m halfway through my graduate degree and my tuition is paid in full. One of our responsibilities is to show the next generation that serving is much more than “going to war” and “getting screamed at by a drill sergeant.”

Selfishly, I’ll sit outside on Veterans Day – my day – with a smirk and an adult beverage, reminiscing about my contributions to our awesome country and the world while watching the sun set over a gorgeous Georgian longleaf pine.

Veterans Day is the celebration of who I became after raising my right hand and reciting the oath that now hangs on my wall. I believe the same is the case for most Veterans.

Dr. Mary Rorro and senior Veteran with music score for special songVA doctor composes special song for Veterans Day
Older Veteran on the phoneVA creates older Veterans’ social connections programs

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2 Comments

  1. PAUL TENENBAUM November 14, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    FOR THE US DRAFTEES KOREAN WAR 1950 TO 1953 JULY 27 ARMISTICE. ALL I CAN SAY IS HOW SAD IN RETROSPECT THEIR EXPERIENCE WAS: SECOND WORLD WAR OUTFITS TOTALLY UNSUITED FOR THE TWO KOREAN WINTERS WITH 40 TO 50 PERCENT BELOW ZERO. INADEQUATE AMMO, WEAPONS AND ESPECIALLY FOOD. BUT PLENTY OF SWEETS AND CIGARETTES, PLENTY OF FROZEN FEET..
    ESPECIALLY THE VERY YOUNG MEN WE LOST DUE TO IGNORANCE.
    TO THIS DAY THE ARMY CLAIMS THERE WAS NO TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY – T.B.I. IN THE KOREAN WAR. THEIR EXPLANATION=
    THERE WAS NO METHODOLOGY AT THAT TIME. IS THIS BELIEVABLE? AFTER WWII, AFTER THE 1860’S WAR WHEN SO MANY CANNONS AND MORTARS WERE USED. SHELLS EXPLODING GALORE THROUGH OUR RANKS CAUSING REPEATED EXPLOSIONS. THEIR SOUNDWAVES PENETRATING * OUR BRAINS AND CAUSING T.B.I.
    RECENTLY IRAN FIRED MISSILES AT A BASE IN IRAQ CAUSING MANY CASUALTIES. OVER 100 TROOPS WERE SENT BACK TO WALTER REED HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT UNDER THE CARE OF DR. LOUIS FRENCH. THEY ARE NOW ENTITLED TO THE
    PURPLE HEART AND RIGHTFULLY SO.
    BUT NOT THE SIMILAR INJURED IN KOREA BY MORTAR SHELLS. THE ARMY IS ASLEEP ON THIS POINT AND SHOULD WAKE UP.
    I HAVE EXPERIENCED THE CONSEQUENCES OF T.B.I. ESPECIALLY LOSS OF BALANCE, WHICH OVER THE YEARS BECAME MORE DANGEROUS TO MY HEALTH. I WAS HOSPITALIZED MANY TIMES WITH FRACTURES TO MY BODY – ALL RECORDED WITH HOSPITAL RECORDS IN THE HANDS OF THE V.A. AND MINE. WHAT HAS THE V.A. DONE TO CORRECT THE CONDITION I AM IN?
    N O T H I N G. what about the VIETNAM VETERAN ?

  2. Charles Carroll November 12, 2021 at 12:23 am

    Outstanding comments, SSG USA Veteran! Thank you too!

    Semper Fedelis!
    Charles E. Carroll, Sr.
    GySgt USMC,Retired

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