True appreciation for the military

I struggle to find the words to explain how the outpouring of support I personally felt this past Veteran’s Day touched me.

I served in the Marines from 1971 to 1975.

I joined because I believed in what this country stands for and not because I had to. Serving in the military was not viewed then as it is today.

I participated in this year’s Veterans Day Parade in Altoona.

I am not embarrassed to say how many times tears swelled in my eyes during the parade.

Those watching the parade placing their hands over their hearts, the applause, and the salutes as our wonderful flag passed by, has such special meaning to those of us who served.

The outpouring of support from local restaurants and offers of free meals is such a great gesture. The real gift was the staff and their honest sincerity concerning their appreciation for your service.

I do not speak for other veterans but only for myself.

I served during a time that military service was viewed by many with disdain. Our flag then was often not given respect and honored for what it stands.

I would also like to say that there is now realization that the sacrifice of service is not only born by the individual serving, but also by the entire family.

Sometimes those at home have more difficulty than even those in isolated combat zones.

I can’t thank you all enough and want each and everyone who reads this to understand that little things do matter. Please understand that many struggle long after their contract to serve ends.

Politicians don’t make our way of life possible.

Those who serve do, and support from people like you are why we’re glad we did.

Rick Heldibridle