One of the perks of this job is, at times, being able to take part in experiences that I probably wouldn’t have been able to in another job.

Two of the most memorable events I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in both involve being around men and women who have served their county in one of the armed services.

I think of those opportunities, and the people I met because of them, often, and always on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

One was the chance to accompany 18 local World War II Veterans to Washington, D.C. in 2008. It doesn’t seem like that trip was seven and a half years ago, but it was.

Sadly, a number of those WWII Veterans who were able to take that trip are no longer with us.

It’s why days like today, Veterans Day, are so important. It’s imperative that we continue to recall the sacrifices of all who have served.

Please take the time to read the story about one of them on the front page of this week’s West Point News.

Aboard the USS Nebraska

The second experience that comes to mind this time of year was being able to spend a day on the USS Nebraska, (SSBN-739), the 14th Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, and the second United States Navy ship to be named in honor of Nebraska.

Meeting the personnel who serve on that submarine and learning more about the demands of their jobs was quite interesting, but even more inspiring.

I’ll never forget my first image when our boat pulled up alongside the sub, seeing young men with weapons at ready standing on the deck of the sub. That’s because even though the USS Nebraska was near its home port, it wasn’t immune from attack when it surfaced.

Everyone should have the chance to meet the young men who serve on that submarine. They and all other men and women who have served and are currently serving this country are the ones our young people should aspire to be like.

On this Veterans Day, I salute and thank each and every Veteran, old and new.

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