I can remember school assemblies when I was in grade school about Veteran’s Day. They were really special because every year we were able to see the same veterans and they told us intriguing stories about their experiences. One of the veterans that came to speak to us year after year was a very old gentleman that was a veteran of WWI. I can distinctively remember the gleam in his eye and the way he whistled, snapped his feet and fingers as he came to attention. To a kid of eight years of age he seemed really cool and very “with it” for an octogenarian. Sadly, he died shortly before Veteran’s Day when I was in the fifth grade. That year we got to hear the real story behind his service during WWI. With tears in his eyes and breaks in his voice, the post commander told us of the old vet’s experience in the Argonne Forest in 1918. I do not remember all of the detail of the stories he told us that day, but I do remember watching a grown man in uniform cry before an entire school of children. After that Veteran’s Day I think I was better able to relate to sense of loss that many Americans deal with every day because of either their service to the country or someone close to them sacrificed their life serving this great country of ours. I had an uncle that I never met who died in the Korean War. The family had a hard time dealing with the loss of their brother. His loss created a wound that left a large visible scar. He and another brother, Bill, were both in Korea when Bob was killed in action. My Uncle Bill escorted Bob’s coffin home from Korea. As a non veteran, I have no way of knowing the true sacrifice made by those who have served this country both in wartime and in peace. I do know this; I am thankful and know that there is no way for me to individually pay back all those I owe a debt of gratitude to. I am determined to “pay forward” and try my best to do all I can to honor today’s veterans as well as do what I can to make America a better place. I implore our students to talk to their families about their history of serving this nation in the armed forces. You may find out things you never knew about your family and make connections that were never there before. You will also get a chance to say thank you!