Who is a veteran?

Posted on November 09, 2011 by Sandra Beckley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

A veteran (from Latin vetus, meaning "old") is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field.

Today, we're talking about military veterans -- people who have served or are serving in the armed forces. Someone who was willing to sacrifice his or her own safety for our freedom.

Military veterans fall into several categories according to the time of their service, (war; peace; conflict) but the time and place of their service does not change the fact that when they enlisted or were inducted, they knew that the service they would be providing could involve bodily damage or even cost them their lives.

Some were lucky and came home to their families, as was my father who served in the U.S. Army during World War II.  Yes, he returned with all his limbs, but no veteran returns totally whole as their lives are forever changed by what they saw and what they did to survive or help others survive. My father received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star Medal, and I would like to share the wording in those Citations to illustrate why veterans are who they are and why they deserve respect.

Citation for Silver Star:  Second Lieutenant* Floyd Davis, Jr., Company C, 255th Infantry Regiment displayed outstanding gallantry in action on 3-4 January 1945 near Gros Rederching, France. Then serving as an enlisted scout in the Third Platoon, which had been overwhelmed by a German attack, he killed several of the enemy, feigned death for several hours, then fought his way clear to return alone with valuable information of the hostile position.

Bronze Star Medal Citation:  Floyd Davis, Jr., Second Lieutenant, then Private First Class*, Infantry, Company “C”, 255th Infantry Regiment, for meritorious achievement on 3 March 1945, in the vicinity of Bubingen, Germany.  When his platoon leader and platoon sergeant were wounded, Lieutenant Davis assumed command of the platoon and carried on the attack to neutralize several enemy positions.  Although subject to almost constant enemy fire, he moved among his men, giving words of advice and encouragement and directing their fire.  Due to his outstanding leadership the platoon was able to advance and reach their objective.  The initiative and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Davis contributed materially to the successful operations of the company and reflect credit upon himself and upon the Armed Forces of the United States.  Entered military service from Chrisman, Illinois.//signed F. M. Harris, Brigadier General, U.S. Army Commanding.

Sharing this information is important because Veterans Day is nearing and what better time to thank our veterans for their service. You may attend a parade or a service or maybe you will exercise that freedom you have because of veterans and just stay home, but please display the flag that our veterans fought under and for as a way of saying, THANK YOU.

*My father was given a Battle Field Commission to 2nd Lt on June 11, 1945 because of the achievements described above and promoted to 1St Lt on September 18, 1946.

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