Yesterday was Veteran's Day, a time for our country to honor those who have served in our nations military; many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in that service. I am very thankful for all those who have served over the years; in particular my own father, my wife's dad, and both of our children, as well as countless friends over the years who have invested some portion of their lives as sailors, soldiers or airmen.
As a veteran myself, I would like to give thanks to my country for the opportunity to serve, and for all that I got out of it. I gave 6 years to the U.S. Navy, but the reward for that time continues to bear fruit. It is hard to imagine what life would be like now apart from that experience.
I joined the Navy fresh out of High School. The Navy provided me with an opportunity to leave home, while still providing a safety net as I continued to grow and develop. I am very thankful for the growth that occurred during that period; emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I learned a trade, that while not practiced much afterwards, did prepare me for my ultimate career and thought me how to think logically. And I was able to see and experience a significant portion of the world, places that I likely would not have had the opportunity to get to otherwise. 35 years later, the memories of my time in the Navy are good.
Being a veteran gave me a leg up when I started to work as a civilian. The veterans preference can be a big plus when entering into the federal workforce. It also gave me more 'time on the job' than I would otherwise have had, giving me more leave and credit toward retirement.
I have a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. And it didn't cost me a penny. The G.I. Bill paid for all of my tuition and books. Unlike so many that I've worked with over the years, I had no college debt to have to deal with.
I own a home that was purchased under the G. I. Bill. No down payment and easy to secure. While we had to deal with regular mortgage lenders once the loan was finalized, we were spared much of the hoop jumping in getting the deal made.
Yes, I made a 6 year investment in the Navy. But that investment has been rewarded many times over. While not everyone's experience is the same as mine, I am one very grateful veteran and want to thank a country that does so much for its veterans.