Friday, November 11, 2011

The Honor of Being a Veteran

My 21 years in the Navy iclude some of the proudest and most fulfilling moments in my life.  Not because I was able to see the world, but because I was able to honor and serve this great country.  My experiences were instrumental as I grew up and they made me realize the type of person i would become.  Not to mention that I was able to grow up the right way and it helped shape me into the man I am today.

I met some of the most incredibly loyal and dedicated people over those years.  I have the most amazing loved ones and friends that any person could ever ask for in this lifetime from my experiences.  After all these years, I know that each and everyone of them, still with us today, would be there for me in a moments notice, no matter what. And not a day goes by that I do not remember those that we lost. In fact, every weekend, I make sure that I read the service section of the local paper and memorize the names of those lost.

I have a sense of honor in my life for serving the country that means so much to me. I have immense pride that I was able to do something bigger than myself that the majority of America doesn't think twice about even trying on any given day.

I am overwhelmed with heartfelt thanks to my father, Robert Bauth, for his dedication and service to our country and to all of my brothers, Jim Bob, Paul and Michael for giving something back to this country that was bigger than themselves.

I can guarantee all of you reading this blog today that none of us who served our country did it for the medals that are sometimes bestowed upon us for bravery or otherwise.  It was because of a calling to do something to make a difference that we heard, felt and answered.

You may never know when you are in the presence of a veteran. We do not boast about it, talk about some of our experiences or discuss those close to us who we lost. Yesterday when I was down and out from a bad day, we will leave it there, someone remembered me from four years ago when they heard the story of my naval service.  They came up to me, reached out to shake my hand and then embraced me and thanked me for my service.  I was completely overwhelmed with pride and love for this incredible country.

So while some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye, there are those of us who have no visible signs other than the pride in our hearts. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity. 

So, when you are on the street today, or any day for that matter, please treat people kindly and if you hear or know of someone who served this wonderful country of ours, be sure to look them in the eye and thank them.  I guarantee that goes straight to the soul.

It is because of my brothers and sisters in arms that this nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave; and that they are over and over again every day!

God Bless America!

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