First and foremost, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every veteran of the United States of America. I mean from the first soldier in the Revolutionary War to those that have enlisted and are about to start basic training. I thank you.
I grew up with the privilege of having my dad be in the service. My father, Robert George Nelsen II, entered into active duty service in the United States Army in 1974 and served active duty through 1978 and then was in the United States Army Reserves for another 24 years. He retired after I had already moved out of the house. I look back at this now, as an adult, and see the sacrifice that he gave. The time away from his wife and children over the course of 28 years is incredible. While he was never called to serve during war or time of conflict, he served in his fullest capacity and gave all he had to give. He was away one weekend every month from our home, times that I remember clearly, and every summer he was gone for training for two weeks. It always seemed as if in this two week period every summer, there was some sort of home disaster: a kid needs stitches, a baby is about to be born, a dryer breaks down… something. I know that it isn’t really every summer that something went sideways, but I do remember some of these moments and my mom saying “why do these things always happen when your dad is gone?” Thank you Dad for everything, for every moment that you missed at home that you gave to our wonderful country over the years.
This morning, I had the opportunity to attend an excellent Veteran’s Day gathering at our local junior high. My oldest daughter is in the National Junior Honor Society and this group planned and put together this event to honor our local veterans. My second oldest daughter plays tuba in the symphonic band and performed today at the event. I was blessed to sit and listen and watch some great tribute music and see veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and active duty members still serving today. While music always stirs my soul, it was only the beginning of what stirred my heart today. My squiggly, wiggly toddler was beside me, we watched the Boy Scouts post the colors (thank you boys), we said the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to Texas and listened to speakers, and the beautiful choir. We were even blessed to hear a local police office who is also a veteran play Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, two wonderful young ladies play Echo Taps for us, and watched a wreath be hung. The program was outstanding and quite impressive to have been put together mostly by young people and their great leader who is the wife of a veteran. She is amazing and made sure the tribute today, was spot on. As the program was concluding, the principal of the school was speaking and asked all of the student body to stand if they had family that had or have military members in their family. While I am not a veteran and neither is my husband, I watched my little girl set down her big tuba and stand. Tears sprung to my eyes, as I knew that she was standing to thank my dad, my uncle, my sister, my brother-in-laws, and my grandfather for their service. It was a great moment for me, to know that my child recognizes that service is indeed above self and that she, too, is grateful for those that serve.
Now, as to why I decided to write this post today, because, really, I should be writing about Jacob the prophet. The program concluded and the student body was dismissed to head to their next class, we (toddler and I) went to hug our tuba player and tell her we’d see her after school. On our way through the crowd and to the exit, we found our Honor Society girl and stopped to hug her as well. We exited the building and (because of the toddler) were surrounded by teenagers, one of them with smeared mascara on her cheeks. A friend of my daughter asked why the tears and we discovered there, standing in the beautiful sunshine of a warm Texas fall day, that she had lost her father in Afghanistan. I gently wiped the mascara from her cheek and told her thank you. So, my message today: thank you to all veterans, thank you to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, and thank you to the families that suffer each day with emotions of loss and grief because your family member chose service above self. I am and ever will be grateful.
“The Army Goes Rolling Along”
Count the brave, count the true, who have fought to vicorty.
We’re the Army and proud of our name!
We’re the Army and proudly proclaim:
First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation’s might,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting til the battle’s won.
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.
Then it’s hi! hi! hey!
The Army’s on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong;
For where’er we go,
You will always kow
That the Army Goes Rolling Along.
“The Marine’s Hymn”
- From the Halls of Montezuma
- To the shores of Tripoli;
- We fight our country’s battles
- In the air, on land, and sea;
- First to fight for right and freedom
- And to keep our honor clean;
- We are proud to claim the title
- Of United States Marine.
- Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
- From dawn to setting sun;
- We have fought in every clime and place
- Where we could take a gun;
- In the snow of far-off Northern lands
- And in sunny tropic scenes,
- You will find us always on the job
- The United States Marines.
- Here’s health to you and to our Corps
- Which we are proud to serve;
- In many a strife we’ve fought for life
- And never lost our nerve.
- If the Army and the Navy
- Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
- They will find the streets are guarded
- By United States Marines.
Stand Navy out to sea, fight our battle cry!
We’ll never change our course so vicious foes steer shy-y-y-y!
Roll out the TNT, anchors aweigh!
Sail on to victory, and sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!
Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh!
Farewell to Foreign Shores, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay;
Through our last night ashore, drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more, here’s wishing you a happy voyage home!
Blue of the mighty deep, Gold of God’s great sun;
Let these our colors be, Till All of time be done-n-n-ne;
On seven seas we learn, Navy’s stern call:
Faith, courage, service true, With honor over, honor over all.
- Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
- Climbing high into the sun
- Here they come zooming to meet our thunder
- At ’em boys, Give ‘er the gun!
- Down we dive, spouting our flame from under
- Off with one helluva roar!
- We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
- Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!
- Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder
- Sent it high into the blue
- Hands of men blasted the world a-sunder
- How they lived God only knew!
- Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer
- Gave us wings, ever to soar!
- With scouts before And bombers galore.
- Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!
- Here’s a toast to the host
- Of those who love the vastness of the sky,
- To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly.
- We drink to those who gave their all of old
- Then down we roar to score the rainbow’s pot of gold.
- A toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force!
- Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
- Keep the wings level and true
- If you’d live to be a grey-haired wonder
- Keep the nose out of the blue!
- Flying men, guarding the nation’s border,
- we’ll be there followed by more!
- In echelon we carry on, Hey!
- Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force!
- From Aztec Shore to Arctic Zone,
- To Europe and Far East,
- The Flag is carried by our ships
- In times of war and peace;
- And never have we struck it yet,
- In spite of foemen’s might,
- Who cheered our crews and cheered again
- For showing how to fight.
- We’re always ready for the call,
- We place our trust in Thee.
- Through surf and storm and howling gale,
- High shall our purpose be,
- “Semper Paratus” is our guide,
- Our fame, our glory, too.
- To fight to save or fight and die!
- Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you.
- “Surveyor” and “Narcissus,”
- The “Eagle” and “Dispatch,”
- The “Hudson” and the “Tampa,”
- These names are hard to match;
- From Barrow’s shores to Paraguay,
- Great Lakes or Ocean’s wave,
- The Coast Guard fights through storms and winds
- To punish or to save.
- Aye! We’ve been “Always Ready”
- To do, to fight, or die!
- Write glory to the shield we wear
- In letters to the sky.
- To sink the foe or save the maimed
- Our mission and our pride.
- We’ll carry on ’til Kingdom Come
- Ideals for which we’ve died.
Thank you again, and I pray that God be with you today, tomorrow and forever.