November 11 is a special day for our nation.

It’s our opportunity to pause and say thank you to our veterans for their courage to serve. All veterans have different reasons. Below are some of them…

Eld D.:

I served after watching the placement of a wreath on the [Tomb] of the Unknown Soldier. Looking at all the gravestones in that cemetery, I realized the debt that was owed for the freedom they paid for. I remember watching the “Battle for Midway.” I realized it was my turn to honor the men and women that went before me. So I joined the U.S. Navy. Never regretted it.

Nancy D.:

I had two uncles at Pearl Harbor. My father was in just after WWII as he was much younger than his brothers. One of my brothers joined a year or so before me. I found the Navy as a source of freedom and a chance for an education. I gained a sense of pride and patriotism as my time went on. I now regret getting out after 8 active and 3 reserves. I could have retired 15 years ago with pride I do not have in the “real” world career I have. I love what I do and how I came to do it, but miss the opportunity to advance the Navy had.

Phillip E.:

I enlisted just after I heard President Kennedy say do something for your country. So I was just 21 and I passed a Navy recruiting station and I walked in and I enlisted. Just one week later, I got my draft notice. Soon, I was sent to Great Lakes [RTC] and that began my Navy service. I was stationed on a shore base for one year in Anacostia, D.C. After that, I was sent to the USS Yorktown (CV 10) out of Long Beach. We sailed for West PAC [in] December 1965, and I did two tours of duty aboard her. [I] was a [photographers mate] third class. When I got of the Navy and we come up date to 2016, I am now a volunteer aboard the USS Intrepid here in New York City. And I will be marching with the Intrepid Association on Friday. And I love my Navy.

Suzanne P.:

I wanted an experience bigger than myself. I needed to grow and expand my views and world. I definitely grew. I got much more than I expected, and yes I would do it again!

Steve M.:

I come from [a] Navy family – my dad and all my uncles. It was my turn and I was proud to do it. The tradition continues, after me, I had a cousin and now a nephew serving.

Lisa A.:

I grew up poor, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to college. My dad and uncle were former Marines and I wanted to do something to help myself and my country as well. I joined in 1988. The Navy changed my entire life. Many years later, I did go to college and graduated with not only a bachelors, but a masters as well. I am Navy forever.

Sam W.:

I had a 2-month-old daughter [who] I was looking for a good, stable job to support. I also had a sort of family tradition – my great uncle, my uncle, my father and brother had served.

Jeffrey M.:

At the end of the Vietnam War, the military wasn’t a popular thing, but I knew it was an important thing. I served in a time of relative peace with the utmost respect for those who had given their lives before me. No regrets.

Kenneth M.:

I felt that, if I hadn’t served, and there had been a war later on,
and others had to fight and die, I would feel guilty for not serving. Also, it’s a civic duty. I chose the U.S. Navy because, having sailed a small boat, I liked being out on the water. I chose an aviation specialty because my dad had worked for an airline.

If you’re a veteran, tell us about your courage to serve in the comments below.

If you’re not a veteran, share your words of appreciation below.