Back in 2002, I was the keynote speaker at a Veterans Day function. There were about 300+ in attendance. As I was speaking I looked over generations of Veterans from WWII all the way up to the present at that time. There were sons, daughters, spouses and friends of theirs sitting and smiling. The thought came to me that I had never read anything that described who Veterans are.
This thought consume my mind and as I was driving back to my office, I began to compose in my head who a veteran is. Over the next few days, I wrote the attached.
The following year I was asked to speak at another Veterans Day ceremony. I brought along about 200 copies of "The Veteran". At the end of my speach, I read it to the audience. It was the first time that I had read it in public. It became very emotional to me and as I looked into the audience, I saw the tears flowing from many.
I received a standing ovation and afterwards was approached by these vets, family and friends to autograph the copies I brought. I ran out of the copies. After things were winding down, a retired two-star general who lives in Colorado approached me and pulled me aside. He asked if I would grant permission to send it to Washington, DC to some friends of his. It was fine with me to share it with whomever he chose.
A couple of weeks late I received a call asking permission for "The Veteran" to be read at the opening ceremony for the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall. The first reading was in Colorado Springs, Co. I was so honored and humbled. You see, "The Veteran" isn't about me, but is about all who have served and to share it, is my recognition to my fellow Veterans. -Robb