What is your story?

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. April Horn
  • Vance Legal Office NCO in charge

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- This past Veterans Day I had the opportunity to meet heroes that paved the way for us to serve our great country.

A local retirement center asked the base for a few volunteers to present certificates of appreciation to their veterans. On arriving at the retirement home, I was surprised to see about 50 veterans there.

When each certificate was presented, the emcee gave some information about the veteran. Although each story was completely different, there was one thing in common -- all had given years of their lives in service to their country.

There were four female veterans that served in the Women’s Army Corps. The WAC was the women’s branch of the United States Army from 1942 to 1978.

The male veterans had served in all branches of the military and all wore their hats showing how proud they were to have served. The time they served their country ranged from less than one year to 36 years.

One of the veterans had served in the Army with Elvis Presley.

Another joined when he was only 14 years old and his brother was 15. His father lied and said they were of age so they could join. They both ended up serving over 20 years.

The highlight of our visit was meeting a 104-year-old man named Leroy Sullivan. He served in World War II on a bomber and completed 29 missions over Germany.

He said he was lucky to only go down once and was rescued soon after. In his room, he had a framed newspaper article with his story. I asked his daughter where his other memorabilia was and she said that each member of his family has a few items. You could tell how proud she was of his valor and history.

At the end of the presentation ceremony, a woman named Dottie stood up to say a few words. She said that when these men were serving, the women were home raising money and sending them care packages.

When she sat down, all of the men applauded her with tears in their eyes. You could tell they were remembering those packages and what they meant to them. Everyone did their part in service to our country.

I don’t think I have ever felt as much patriotism as I did that day. I couldn’t help but think, what is my story? When I make it to 100 years old will some whippersnapper want to listen to me and think what I have done is interesting?

Next time you see an older guy or gal wearing their military ball cap, ask them what their story is. I assure you that they will be proud to tell you.