When I attend Veteran Day ceremonies like we have in Mesquite each year with the memorial service and parade, I don’t reflect back on the most awesome experiences of my career in the military. There are other quiet moments when I think about them.

When I look around the audience at these gatherings and see the few WWII and Korean War Veterans we have remaining with us, when I see the tears falling gently down the face of a battle-worn VietNam Veteran, when I recognize the pain an Iraqi or Afghanistan Veteran lives with every day, I think about them and all those who aren’t with us anymore. I always feel so inadequate next to them.

One of the major commands in the Air Force was called the Strategic Air Command. Most of the planes in its fleet were bombers and it was responsible for most of the military’s nuclear weapons and missiles. For a long time the Command’s motto “Peace is our Profession’ seemed odd to me. If you’re in the business of war how can peace be your profession?

Finally, I had an opportunity to ask a B-52 pilot about the motto. He replied that no one really wants to go to war but if necessary they will. Peace, he said, was a much tougher goal.

I hope that someday the world will, together, just call it good and get along as best we can without the ugliness of battle. I pray that something, somewhere, will trigger a reaction of peace and not one of war when someone or some country feels wronged or slighted.

We always celebrate the oldest living Veteran or the most decorated soldier or the bravest comrade who saved his buddy’s life. And I really like doing that. A lot.

But, here’s what I so desperately want to celebrate one of these glorious Veteran’s Day. I want to celebrate the last Veteran we’ll ever have. I want to rejoice at the day we can say that none of our women or men ever have to face the horrors of war again.

I doubt I’ll ever have that opportunity in my lifetime, so for now I simply want to say to all of bravest people, the most wonderful men and women I’ve had a chance to serve after, with, or before, you are awesome.

Thanks to every one of you.

I love you all.