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Captain's Corner

Remember To Thank The Vets All Year Long

I would like to talk about what has transpired over the last few days, including Veterans’ Day. You often hear people asking, “Oh, when is Veteran's Day; what time does the parade start?

Veterans’ Day has three simple numbers, 11, 11, 11. Veterans’ Day is always the 11th month, celebrated on the 11th day, and if there is a formal event, it starts at the 11th hour.

Veteran's Day is the one day out of the year to show your respect to our country and its veterans who have done and given so much for us. Because of them, you can sit on the sidewalk and watch the parade go by; you can go to McDonalds and have a Big Mac, or you can enjoy a great day with your family without any worry about safety.

Millions of Americans have died or are disabled fighting for our country and if you ask any of them, they are going to say "That is okay; it needed to be done."

I have had the honor and privilege of participating in the Veterans’ Day Parade in Phoenix for the last eighteen years. It is moving to see the enthusiasm of the crowds yelling, screaming, cheering and chanting, "Thank you for your service."

Then, as the parade draws closer to the Veterans Hospital, that is when you notice a difference in the crowd. These are the veterans who are in the hospital but are able to come and view the parade.

You are all dressed up in your finest uniformm waving and saying thank you to the crowd from your float, truck or boat in our case. All of a sudden, you realize that all of these people are on crutches, on walkers, in wheel chairs. Their ages range from 18 to 90-plus, and as you can look at them and into their eyes, it is clear that they have aged fighting for our country. They are missing arms, they are missing legs, but yet there they are saying, "Thank you" back to you.

This is what Veteran's Day is all about, honor, respect and devotion to duty. So remember, the next time you see someone in uniform, the next time you see someone disabled from serving in our military, the next time you see someone in your family, your brother, your father or your grandfather, make sure you tell them, “Thank you for your service.”

Editor’s Note: Even though this issue is being distributed after Veterans’ Day 2014, Esparza’s words are applicable any time of the year: “Thank you for your service.”


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