"What does Veterans Day mean to you?"

By: 
Michael Brock
Reporter

To honor Veterans Day this year, the Deer Park Tribune asked nine local Vets one question: "What does Veterans Day mean to you?"

Here are their responses:

Nate Overgaard, Army (2004-2005)

  • “I feel that Veterans Day is a day to honor our brothers that we served and that we experienced things with — that we never would experience with normal friends in regular situations, other than obviously going away to war. And unlike Memorial Day, it’s about celebrating the friendships that we continue to have, as opposed to the people that we have lost.”

Jim Huntley, Air Force (1989-1993)

  • “Veterans Day means a lot. Because my Dad was a Veteran. So it makes me think of [him and] who I served with. I remember a lot about what I went through… It’s about what came before me. And to make sure that what they sacrificed is remembered.”

Dan Dutton, Coast Guard (1980-1984)

  • “Veterans Day is very important to me and my family. I served, three out of my four siblings served, my father served, [so did] aunts, uncles. So I hold it in very high regard to those that have served our country... I encourage all those that can to serve if at all possible, even if it's only two years, four years. I think it's a very good education, especially for younger people. And it's a good career for those that choose to make it a career. My son is currently active duty Army — did a tour in Afghanistan. So I'm very proud of those that have answered the call. “

Jason Broenneke, Navy (1997-2018)

  • “I remember back, in uniform, Veterans Day was kind of like any other day. We went out and we did our duties and we followed the Navy core values: honor, courage, commitment. Now that I'm retired, two years out, it's kind of a new meaning for me. I can look back and remember the pride that I had and the great memories serving alongside my fellow brothers and sisters in the Navy. And it's just an honor to serve. I want all Veterans to know that everybody's sacrifice and duty that they did doesn't go unnoticed… Everybody should kind of take a moment and look at that, that people went out and served so that we could have freedom. Our way of life here in America was put forth by the people who served our country... Now that I'm out and retired, I can look back with a great sense of honor and pride that I did help with that. I want other veterans to know that we see that... I'm glad that I served. I want to thank all the current veterans that are still serving. I want to thank all the veterans that were before me that gave their lives so that we could have our freedoms here. I really appreciate it and want to just send out my thanks for what they did. I know firsthand of the sacrifices that they did and it means a lot to me.”

Tim Fitzgerald, Marine Corps (1983-2013)

  • “Veterans Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate our hard earned freedoms. We honor our veterans, who took an oath — because you know Veterans take an oath of office. And they took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States... We celebrate our Veterans because they represent our national identity. I mean, they come from all walks of life, our Veterans. There are men, there are women there are all race, all creeds, all colors, all religious backgrounds. They come from cities, they come from rural farms. They have advanced degrees and high school degrees. They are a broad crosscut of our country. And we celebrate them because they represent the national identity and also the ideals of selfless service, being part of something bigger than themselves. And they serve our nation just as they serve our communities. So you think back to the old days, our Veterans were citizen soldiers. And then we had a small professional cadre to train them. When we got into larger wars, like Vietnam, we drafted our citizens to become part of our Department of Defense — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps. And now we're back to an all volunteer force again, the citizen soldiers. Some stay in a few years, some make it a lifetime career. And then they are trained by a professional cadre. So we have come full circle from where we were back in 1775... It just reminds me of who we are as a people, because our military is the people, because they come from the people.”

Christopher Grieshaber, Army (2002-2011)

  • “So basically what Veterans Day means to me is a group of people that have sacrificed their time, their efforts, their strength and mentality, their emotion — to be in places and circumstances and where a lot of people don't choose to go or be in, for the sake of the general public. So that freedom and safety can be throughout all.. It takes a lot to be a Veteran. I mean, it's just diligence, hard work, struggle, dedication to not just one sector of people, but to all.”

Wesley Anderson, Marine, Vietnam combat Vet (1965-1969)

  • “It's a day where we have to remember the wars that were fought and defended to protect and preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today. We also have to remember those who have defended this nation, given of themselves so that others could live in relative safety. We honor all those veterans past, present and future. My grandfather was in World War I. My dad in World War II, Korea. I was in Vietnam and my sister’s did a tour in Afghanistan and Iraq. So we've got a long legacy of Veterans.”

Joe Sens, Army (2003-2013)

  • “For me, Veterans Day is kind of different from Memorial Day because Memorial Day is everyone who passed away, but everybody else kind of sacrificed too. Mainly what I think about on Veterans Day is the fun times I had with my friends and how I kind of appreciate how I made it through. Now I have a family and I have this really nice life. Things could have been a lot different. I think it just really made me appreciate what I have now.”

Charlie Duranona, Navy (2002-2007)

  • Being a Veteran myself, I see it as a day of remembering all my friends in the military. I connect with everybody on Facebook and on social media and say ‘Thank you for serving,’; ‘Thank you for serving with me." I think it's a day to honor those who have served in our military... I'm very grateful to have served. I think that Veterans Day is that day that we can all say thank you and be grateful for those who have served. I tell my daughter all the time on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, things like that, we try to do something. This year, of course there's not much going on right now, but previous years going to [Spokane Arena] or visiting a veteran and just giving back to those who have served. I think that that's what that day is all about for me.”

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