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What it means when you say, “Happy Veterans Day!”

Every year, I post something to our Veterans thanking them for their service and showing my appreciation. This year, I thought I would take is a step further and ask my husband, who is a Veteran, to write a piece about what Veterans Day means to him. And guess what? He took the challenge. A big shout out to ALL Veterans. Happy Veterans Day and we thank you for your service!

What Veterans Day means to me.
By Adam Knight

I was fresh out of college when I joined the Army.  My father and uncle were in the military too and my grandfather served in World War II.  I followed his footsteps all the way to Ft. Benning, GA, to attend Basic Training and then Officer Candidate School (OCS).  From there I drove across the country again to attend Military Intelligence (MI) Officer Basic Course, at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. When I finished almost a year and a half of training I thought I was the most awesome soldier ever, was ready to do really cool MI things, and travel the world.  Then I was assigned to my first unit, in the middle of nowhere South Korea. 

I was humbled.  Instead of being a super sweet Army spy I was assigned as the company executive officer (the XO).   The company XO is the supply and motor pool officer, the logistics guy.  It was taxing, not sexy, required weekend work, and I absolutely hated it for the first couple of months.  However, after becoming familiar with the job duties I decided to give it a chance (I really had no other option).

I learned leadership.  Not school house OCS leadership but on the job hard lessons leadership.  To add, the Army is a microcosm of the whole country.  Most of the soldiers were in their late teens and early twenties, the unit was co-ed, and stationed overseas.  You can only imagine what overly confident people in their late teens and twenties do at night and the weekends.  So, there was a lot of discipline and loud voices.  Full disclosure, I too received lectures and loud spoken words from the company commander, my boss and the overall unit boss.  But, I began to enjoy the work and the troops.  

However, It was not easy to succeed.  The work was physically and mentally challenging and we were young.   We all learned to rely on each other, we had to rely on each other.  No one person could independently operate and succeed.  I learned that each soldier was important and each soldier was special.  In the end, we formed iron trust bonds with one another.  And we succeeded.  It was very tough for me to leave Korea.  I cherish the time I spent with that unit.  

On my flight home I remember thinking how much more rich my time was because I let go of me and became part of something bigger.   

After Korea, I was immediately sent to Army Airborne school and then directly to the 82nd Airborne Division.  Two months after Airborne school my unit was sent to Iraq.  

The Iraqi war was much different than conducting maneuvers and exercises in South Korea.  And although different from South Korea the trust with those fellas was formed exactly the same way.  We all relied on each other and we all followed leaders who were fiercely honest and transparent.  That trust was unbreakable.

And we laughed a lot.  Strangely, war makes things a thousand times more funny.  Hearing funny stories from guys with whom I had zero in common became a wonderful part of the day.  Looking back, the laughter and humor were critical to remain ok with everything going on. After our mission was over in Iraq we came back to headquarters in North Carolina.  After my time with the 82nd I left the Army to pursue other things.

Veterans Day is special to me because it is a full day dedicated to  giving honor and showing thankfulness to vets.  I can honor those wonderful people with whom I served and all of the great folks who were in the military.  And when I hear, “Hey Adam, Happy Veterans Day man” I feel humbled and honored too.  What a wonderful club to be in.   

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Gina Odom, Realtor

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