Diving Into Veterans Day
The diving alarm went off, the Chief of the Watch made the announcement over the 1MC, “Dive! Dive! Dive!”, and I dove into the silent waters of the Atlantic and into my first submarine deployment. To my surprise, submarines don’t have windows, though what mysterious ‘creature’ was hiding on the other side of the hull was the least of my worries. My biggest concern was how to stay sane in a submarine for over six months.
Whether it is defying the sea’s depth, flying an aircraft through the sky, fighting in combat during war, or actively serving in the military in another way, many Americans have risked it all to protect this country. Today, our sacrifice is recognized, and we humbly accept such recognition, pridefully thank those who continue to serve and honorably remember those who paid the ultimate price.
According to Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a veteran is “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” Though the definition is clear, it certainly just skims the surface of the deep and complex life of a United States veteran. A veteran is one who abides by his or her oath when the country is unified or more polarized than ever. Although veterans might have different individual beliefs, we look beyond them and stay focused on the one we all share: the importance of protecting the United States of America.
After just a couple days of being underwater, I realized that those around me weren’t going to let me down and still, to this day, form part of a family I can always count on. On my 20th birthday, we were one-third of the way through deployment, and although there aren’t any bakeries under the sea and we couldn’t find SpongeBob’s Krusty Krab, my shipmates baked a cake and gave me the best gift one could ask for while underway – a warm, fresh-out-of-a-secret stash, Coca Cola!
As former President Barack Obama once said, “It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.” If there’s one thing I can say from being a veteran, it’s that, although our country may be divided and going through critical times, it has never forgotten about its veterans. Because of that, we have benefits that allow us to go to college, transition smoothly into civilian jobs or have an internship that allows us to write and publish posts like this one.
Today I want to shout a huge “hooyah” to all veterans and to thank those who always recognize the work we voluntarily chose to do for what I personally believe is still the best country in the world.
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