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This coming Monday, we will commemorate Veterans’ Day.  What a significant day it is!  In every gathering of people, there will be veterans scattered in the group.  The number varies on which article one reads, but most estimate that there are about 22 million veterans living today.  If that number is added to our current “active duty” service personnel, somewhere between 7%–9% of all Americans have served at some time in their lives.

We don’t see them in their military uniforms.  We know them as mechanics, police officers, skilled trade workers, accountants, medical personnel, attorneys, and they are found in every walk of life.  These men and women who volunteer to wear the military uniform of some branch of our country have various reasons for enlisting. 

For some, it is a tradition in their family that young people enlist.  For others, it is a time between high school and college to determine what they really want to do for a life career. Still others realize the advantages of being trained in the military for the jobs they want to pursue once they are discharged.

Regardless of what motivates them to sign-up, the role they play for the years they serve is to give their energies to defend and protect this nation.  Seeing the faces of those “very young” adults that go into war zones or are assigned responsibilities in intelligence, or fly some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world and operate its weaponry makes me continually grateful for the training, steadfast courage, and dedication these (as well as those who have gone before them in previous generations) exude.

The realization is that we don’t know their individual acts of courage or self-sacrifice.  For their name to ever be known, they likely had to sustain the severest of injuries, the worst possible treatment at the hands of the enemy or had a moment in time when what they did should have been impossible…. but they accomplished the mission.

I would love to be able to say “thank you for your service” to ever single person that is serving or has ever served. The work of our nation’s military far exceeds defending our own physical borders.  This group of highly skilled personnel are sent to some of the most violent, dangerous places around the world to fight alongside a struggling nation trying to hold off invasive tyrants.  Today, not only are they “on patrol” in the field, they are vigilant in the air, monitoring on computers, listening for cell phone chatter, and use drones to watch suspected areas constantly.  I don’t know the names of those that are protecting me today.  But I am still very grateful. Thank you for your willingness to keep me and my family safe because of your valor!  Here is the name of one you likely never heard of…..

Thanks to the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, everyone has heard of the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” But few have heard of Israel Bissel, a humble post rider on the Boston-New York route. After the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Bissel was ordered to raise the alarm in New Haven, Connecticut. He reached Worchester, Mass., normally a day’s ride, in two hours. There, according to tradition, his horse promptly dropped dead. Pausing only to get another mount, Bissel pressed on and by April 22 was in New Haven, but he didn’t stop there! He rode on to New York, arriving April 24, and then stayed in the saddle until he reached Philadelphia the next day. Bissel’s 126-hour, 345 mile ride signaled American militia units throughout the Northeast to mobilize for war. (Copied).