I had the privilege of being in the same room as a number of veterans who fought in various wars in our country’s history. In observation of Veterans Day, they had assembled at the Commemorative Air Force for the annual Gathering of the Legends event to honor them and the sacrifices they made.
The main speaker at the event this year was not a veteran and had no military background. As he started his portion of the program, he made a point to say he didn’t have anything to say to the men and women in attendance. But rather, the men and women being honored should have been speaking to him.
You see, this speaker, John Mollison, knows that those who served in our Armed Forces have much to say. As the face of a TV show titled “Old Guys and Their Airplanes,” he’s made it his life ambition to interview veterans and draw the airplanes they flew. Why? Because as he said to the Veterans Day audience, “Your stories and examples are powerful.”
Indeed, they are. Mollison shared clips of interviews he’s done that included some fascinating stories, like the one of the serviceman who narrowly escaped major injury when his plane was destroyed in a formation landing accident. A propeller from another plane tore right through his plane and cut off his parachute straps. Yet he walked away.
Interestingly enough, these men and women didn’t set out to create stories. They were just doing their jobs, doing what they were told to do. And out of that came accounts of their experiences.
Those who didn’t face what our veterans did enjoy hearing the tales. It makes us feel closer to the occurrences and helps us understand what life must have been like during those times.
You and I may not have served in the military. Maybe you did. If so, thank you. I appreciate the freedoms I have today because of your sacrifice. Regardless of our backgrounds and personal history, each of us has powerful stories and examples that need to be shared and can benefit others.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"