AUSA Global Force Day 3: A Reminder
Well, it's all over. I just got the stand broken down and packed away. Our crew did a great job and it went quickly. Now, it's time to write up the notes from today.
It was a short day (the show was open only four hours) but nearly every minute was taken up with meetings. Some of the folks that said they would come by waited until today, so we were busy. Anyway, it was great to see them. We have so many friends in the Army and the supporting industry. It is such a pleasure to speak to them.
But enough about business. I want to relate what happened to me when I stepped into the Vietnam War commemoration booth this morning. Here were a group of Vietnam Veterans who were there to simply share their stories "in country"—to keep alive the Vietnam experience and the courage and sacrifice of those men and women who gave their lives in part and in full because their country called. I grew up in that era, and I served in that era (though was never called to fight) and I remember the horrific way so many veterans were treated simply because the war was so unpopular.
In talking with a couple vets at the stand, they asked me when I had served? "1971 to 1978," I said. Then, one of them reached over, picked up a pin and asked may I pin this on you? You can see the pin in the picture—a Vietnam veteran pin. I got chills as he said "Thank you for your service." I said with a catch to my words: "I'm honored. I will wear this, but for those who truly did serve; I only stood and waited."
Two of those who served are two of my closest friends; John Chehansky, navy pilot, and Robert E. L. Tolbert, infantry lieutenant. Thank you guys for your service: I will wear this for you and for those you served with.
My visit to the Vets stand was also a reminder—again—that while we may be in the business of providing rugged embedded computing solutions, the business we’re really in is helping to protect the lives of those who serve. That’s what gives meaning to what we do.
Maybe you know someone who served in Vietnam? If you do, please thank them for their sacrifice when it was not the glorious thing to do. They served because their country called. Is there anything more noble?
So, to those men and women who served, and the families that sacrificed, and to those who fell: thank you.