Veteran's Day Legacy
Most men of my era spent time in uniform. Military service was expected and respected.
While there was some dread of personal freedom lost for the most part I looked forward to this as a rite of passage and believe that was generally the case among most men of my era. Coming of age in the 50's meant the United States of America was the one nation that exemplified and defended freedom and justice.
When a helicopter crashes killing 12 Marines and a sailor the "sailor" was a Medical Corpsmen in a combat marine uniform. Enlisted in the Navy I wore Marine uniforms. Have to have been there to understand.
I'm John Leonard Bradley -- a farm kid who got lucky. Sixth of seven children. I'm here because...
I was born to the right parents at the right time in the right country.
No one builds anything alone. Everything is gift from others and those who came before. Military service taught me "No excuse sir" and "grit". In Asia I saw veterans of other wars scooting along and begging. Here the GI Bill paid for my bachelor's degree where I met my wife, my master's degree, got me started on my doctorate degree and helped me buy a house.
I owe too much. There is no way I can ever repay those who supported me and those who came before. All I can do is "pay it forward."
We veterans understand the honor that comes from doing one's duty. It's my duty to do as much as I can for those who follow me. That's the only way I can repay those I owe.
We veterans are an honorable force. We will be honored when our children look back and say...
"We were born to the right parents at the right time in the right country."