We Remember and Honor you All

Editor’s Note: Today marks Veteran’s Day 2020, and I’m proud and honored to post Reed’s Veteran’s Day speech. The video is also outstanding and adds some color context.

Dear POVers;  I asked Mike if I could share this speech I wrote and delivered to Hospices, Elderly Living Homes and and Veterans Homes nationwide earlier this week.  It is part of the continuing volunteer work I do in this arena – severely curtailed this year by the pandemic.  So – please share this with any veterans you may know or anyone you think might appreciate it. If you yourself are a veteran then this thank you is for you also.

My fellow veterans, I am U.S. Coast Guard LCDR Reed Kohberger and am honored to represent the Coast Guard and share this celebration of Veterans Day 2020 with you.

It is such an important occasion for all of us Americans and so we are here to recognize and to honor your hard work, personal sacrifices and stalwart courage in defending and supporting our nation in both times of war and in peace.

I cannot help but feel awed by the enormity of your personal commitments to this great nation. You are the men and women who answered the call when needed and nobly served, abroad and at home, and I am in complete admiration.

Most veterans did not ask to leave the comfort and safety of their homes to travel to foreign lands and to fight on distant battlefields or sail on distant oceans; all the actions needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self.  

They didn’t choose to leave all they knew and loved and went to war because they loved fighting. Yet they were called on and compelled to support and defend our nation… and they did not hesitate.

On these Veterans Days – we always speak of what our men and women did in-theater – that is during military operations. That is all well and good and as it should be. Nothing is more important than that in the long run.

But in my mind what is equally significant is what you all did after the fighting stopped.

Our independence has faced stern tests of wills against nation states that have acted to harm us and destroy our way of life. Those enemies have not succeeded… nor will they. Ensuring that holds fast is but a part of what you veterans have done for future generations.

What happened after your military service was finished is what truly made the Unites States the strong and vibrant country that it is today –that began with you coming home and applying what you had experienced and learned in those formative years of your youth to create a better life for others.

You returned home from Europe, Asia or the Pacific and looked toward what our country’s future should be – then buckled down and did the hard work ahead to make it so.

Whether it was working in the mills, mines, farms or construction sites to provide the needed resources to make America grow… You did it. Some used the training and talents learned in their ratings to build bridges, raise cities, dig harbors and lay highways…. You did it.

Perhaps you went to college on the GI bill and used your knowledge in engineering, science; the medical arts or education into creating a new America and better Americans… you did it.

You, and so many others, lived through the trials and tribulations of a world war… then in peacetime unselfishly gave their time and energy to others.

You all squared your shoulders, looked toward our future and marched straight into it.

Way too often that part of being a veteran has been overlooked and – to me at least – I feel that is just as great a gift you have given us as the victories you won on the battle fields, in the skies and on the oceans.

Today our young men and women continue to make the ultimate sacrifices, and even as we lose troops in service more Americans step forward and say, “I am ready, let me help.” They live, serve and fight by choice in a volunteer military. Thus we pay tribute to those future veterans who are currently in service also.

This week people throughout the country will come together to remember and voice their gratitude to those of you who have protected us so well. Our celebration here now is just one small spark in the flame of pride that burns across the nation today. Doing this is a way for us to say “We remember you and we always will”.

From the soldiers who shivered and starved through that long ago winter at Valley Forge; the doughboys crouched in the muddy trenches of France; Fighter pilots over in the skies over Europe, platoons who patrolled the jungles of Vietnam; the young men and women on the mountains of Afghanistan and the sands of Iraq, and to all our sailors on ships on and under the sea, we remember and honor you all.

God bless you Veterans and your families. God bless our current military members wherever they are stationed…and God bless these United States.

55 thoughts on “We Remember and Honor you All

  1. My father and I never really got along. He died of lung cancer in 1984. Since then I’ve discovered
    the story of his service in WW11

    He enlisted and did his basic at Ft Dix in 1941. Soon to be a member of the Big Red 1, he took a test to see if he could solve puzzles and scored very high. My dad could do The NY Times Sunday crossword to 15 minutes.

    He and his fellow puzzle doers were pulled into a new unit, the Army Signal Corp. My dad rose to the rank of Captain and was stationed in N Africa and Italy.
    He and his unit broke a myriad of German and Japanese Codes.
    Rumor was that it was his unit
    that staged one of the boldest
    acts of deception by floating a dead US Soldiers body off the coast of Spain with papers indicating a false date and location of the coming invasion of Italy.

    I wish I’d have known him then. The war took a piece of him and he never got it back

    Thank you Reed for those wonderful words. My father would have greatly appreciated those sentiments.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Wow, interesting Dan….that was Operation Mincemeat.

      I had an Uncle die in WW2 and one of my other Uncles was General Mark Clark’s (US Commander of the Italian Campaign) personal driver. Uncle Pete was a Master Sgt and tough as nails.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aye Aye Commander. Everyone on the POV appreciates your service to our Great Country. May it continue to be Great and that Shining City on the Hill.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For years I played golf with my best friend and fellow Pitt grad John and his father. Nicest guy I ever met. Wasn’t til he died about 10 years ago that I found out he was a decorated Marine who came ashore on DDay and fought in every major pacific island battle never getting as much as a scratch.
    Like most, he never ever spoke of it.

    Reed, you really brought back some memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My father enlisted in WWII at age 28 into Big Red 1. After N. Africa. Sicily. D day. and malaria liberating Paris and a concentration camp he came home. My uncle flew bombers as tailgaters in Europe and the Pacific. Both came home unable to talk about the war. Neither saw their service as anything but duty. They and all had some PTSD as a result.

    We thank all those who served

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done Commander and friend!

    We cannot thank our veterans enough for their service and relentless fight for our freedoms. Yet some in this country do not give thanks for those that protect freedom nor do they respect the freedoms we have.

    Freedom is not experienced around the world lyke it is in our great nation. It is a battle everyday that is fought and will continue to be throughout history.

    To all veterans, thank you for your humble, yet bold service to our people and our country. To the active service men & women, keep doing what you do and be ready at a moments notice to spring into action. And to the future generation who will serve, embrace the veterans and active duty members in your family, learn from them and hear their stories / they will help to shape your story one day.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I have two little black and white pictures of which I am very proud, of me as a little three or four year-old dressed in military uniforms during WWII. In one I was in an child’s Army suit standing at attention with Uncle John who was standing in his Army uniform as an artillery captain. In the other I was in a child’s Navy outfit with Uncle George, my godfather, kneeling near me in his Coast Guard uniform, and Uncle Paul, George’s brother, kneeling also near me in his Navy uniform. I am standing between them, smiling ear to ear, saluting for the camera. All three uncles survived the war. That war was the most momentous event of the 20th century and still resonates with me now. My wife asks don’t I have enough of WWII as I watch the History Channel or the Smithsonian Channel, and I say I learn something new every time I watch. Those uncles and my Dad were, as Tom Brokaw called them, the Greatest Generation as they suffered through the Great Depression and still served their country in the military, like my uncles, or in the steel mill like my father. I will carry that pride and love for them to my grave.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You Pitt alums may note that there are 600 American flags on the front lawn of Soldiers & Sailors which will be lit with luminaires at sunset tonight. The flags will remain there all month

    As always, a shout out to my dad and uncles who served in WWII including my only living uncle (94) who was shipboard in the Pacific.

    And of course, a tip of the hat to Reed who continues to serve admirally in his retirement for the benefit of veterans

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Had two grandfathers that served during WWII but somehow neither were sent overseas. My paternal grandfather met my grandmother while stationed in Anniston Alabama during the war. He married her and took her back to Philadelphia after the war and well, if it wasn’t for that I guess I wouldn’t be here to manage the POV. So not exactly “building America” but certainly contributing to it in one small way.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Salute to Reed and all of our great veterans!

    My grandpa served in Patton’s Army and got shot up in the Battle of the Bulge. I’m sure glad that bullet hit his dog tag first. Sadly after that my grandpa struggled with alcoholism and PTSD. My grandma said “he was never right” after he came back. Sadly back then, he was too proud to seek help and the services available through the VA weren’t then what they are now.

    Thank you again Reed for doing your part after your service to our country to help our vets after they come home!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks all. My dad was a pilot in the Army Air Force and trained to fly gliders…I suppose to drop people and things places where they didn’t want to be found.

    After that he was the CO of an Army munitions supply depot in the China-Burma theater which accounted his very real reluctance to have the fireplaces used in our house I’m sure.

    He told me once that the first thing he changed at that munitions dump was to move all the barracks tents to the outside of the munitions area instead of having the munitions stored at places surrounding the barracks.

    Smart guy, eh? You’d have thought someone would have done that as they built the place.

    With our modern lives and so many differing outlooks on life we tend to minimize Veterans Day as we get farther in time past wars which had effects on all Americans. That’s too bad and it’s up to us to keep memories alive by doing just what we are doing here today – reflecting on those who were serving America from points all over the world and at home.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you Reed

    My father was a Merchant Marine during WWII, they weren’t recognized as Veterans until after his death, but their service helped win the war. I do know that he was a signal man and was on voyages to Britain, Russia and China during the war. His bravery astounds me.
    I had three uncles serve in WWII, two Marines and one Army. One of them played basketball at Duke before the war and Basketball and football after the war. Two uncles played both basketball and football at Tennessee, went to separate Rose Bowls and started on separate SEC Championship basketball teams, which is something since Tennessee has only won three SEC Basketball Championships.

    I also had three great uncles who immigrated from Scotland and fought in WWI as Americans. One of them survived being gassed. They all lived into their late eighties.

    I also had a first cousin a year older than me who was killed in Viet Nam.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Many thanks to all Verterans who served and continue to serve.

    To my Dad who was drafted and served in Vietnam. To his brother, my Uncle, who also served in Nam.

    To my grandfather who served in the Pacific and was stationed on Tinian Island…Enola Gay.

    And my Uncle who served in the Merchant Marines

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 3 of my uncles served in WW II. One under Patton, one at Iwo Jima and one at D Day. All returned. 4th uncle could not serve due to family limits. My Navy career during Vietnam did not involve service on a ship.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My father served admirably in WW II, and fortunately came back in one piece to talk about it. The stories of bravery are unbelievable, and are told so matter-of-factly that it is hard to imagine it happening today. Men ran to the recruiting locations to sign up and defend our country. Can you imagine that D Day feeling among the soldiers when Dwight Eisenhowser gave them the talk that many of them would not return? Do Americans still have that love of country today?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here. But let’s hope it’s never needed. Never a WWIII

        I personally believe we have a better chance of being attacked by aliens. Seriously, I jest not.

        I have hope that we’ve all learned lessons from the past. And our alliances with former enemies like Germany and Japan help protect the peace. The world is so globally connected these days both economically and culturally. We need each other.

        And atomics changed everything about global warfare. My grandfather was on the island when the plane, Enola Gay, took off with the bomb. They knew something big was going to happen. They didn’t know how big. It completely changed the game.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Voice, we just saw the biggest voter turnout in our history. Whether we agree, disagree or whatever with those candidates all those voters thought their vote would matter in the future of this country.

          While it might not mean much to others to me it shows that people still do care and love America…even if I disagree with them 100%.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Reed, my favorite tee shirt has Armed Forces on the front and on the back says “I may not agree with what you say. But I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Those who personally know me and my service are amazed at my tolerance toward some people and especially to the ones I had to explain what the back of the shirt actually meant.

            Liked by 1 person

  15. You would be surprised at the number of WWII veterans I visit with their families alongside them and I’ll sit down after the ceremony to talk to the Vet about their military years and service.

    Many times sons and daughters will come up afterward and tell me that their parent never talked of it at all during their whole lives. Those visits are especially rewarding.

    Once we were scheduled to visit a WWII Navy vet in a few days but his health started really declining. We rushed over and even though he was unresponsive we did the ceremony (his family was there also) The nurse told us beforehand that he couldn’t hear us. We finished and as we were leaving I held his hand and said “Your nation wishes you fair winds and following seas” which is a naval tradition when saying goodbye to someone.

    I’ll ll swear on a stack of bibles he squeezed my hand… He passed that next morning. Afterward I spoke to a friend of mine who is a doctor and he told me that hearing is the last sense to go right before death and I sure believe that now.

    This thread reminds me of what we did on here a couple of years ago when I wrote the “How did you become a Pitt fan?” Same kind of heartfelt comments. Thank you guys so much…

    Liked by 5 people

  16. My dad was the eldest of 9 siblings. He was the son of share croppers in the high plains of west Texas. Originally, he was given an exemption from the draft for being an essential farm worker. Once his younger siblings were able to fill his role on the farm(s) & using his free time to get his high school degree, he enlisted. My mother was raised on the North Side of Pittsburgh in the Marshall-Shadeland area. My time line is probably wrong it but was late 1942 – early 43 when he enlisted.

    Like most vets of his era, he didn’t discuss his war years, He did tell stories of being stationed at South Park. Usually of army vehicles breaking down in the Liberty Tubes or blocking street car tracks outside of a bar. I have the impression at times of him being either a MP or a driver or maybe a patron of those bars.

    He did not meet my mother in Pittsburgh. They met in DC where after a three month training in mathematics at university of Michigan & falling in love with Tom Harman, she served the war effort by doing the math needed on trajectories. My dad was in DC training to be a medic.

    He was sent to Swannanoa, NC (just outside of Asheville) for further training before being shipped to Europe. (I have a story of what would be my mom & grandma visiting my dad in Swannanoa.)

    He never talked about Europe except for passing along a hatred for mutton/lamb & the story of his return trip.
    He was on his way to the Pacific & the invasion of Japan but the convoy barely creped along because no matter what, once they entered the Panama Canal, they were going west. Luckily, the war ended & magically the transports reached max speed on the way to disembarking in the USA,

    So, thanks to all vets & those who wait at home for the service.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Reed, thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our country and its veterans. My dad was in the 158th Bushmaster infantry in New Guinea. Saw quite a bit of action and had dreams that he was ” fighting the Japs” (his words) all his life. He was a trumpet player and did a USO tour with John Wayne and others while there. Many thanks to all the veterans out there that protect us and make us proud every day.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Had an Uncle who lied about his age and got into the Navy during WWII. My Dad was initially a gunner on a B-17, but ended up in the infantry in the Pacific. Survived a shrapnel wound and malaria. Had a nice commendation letter for taking out an enemy machine-gun nest with a well-placed grenade. (Unfortunately, my Mom inadvertently tossed it in her old age. )

    My Dad didn’t talk about the war, other than to tell me he had played baseball with Pee Wee Reese at a base during basic training…

    Like

  19. A solemn day of remembrance of those who gave so much, and yet many of the stories of otherwise normal people are inspiring, uplifting and put a smile on our faces.

    Thanks to Reed and all of you who have served for what you have done and continue to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. To you Reed and all the veterans who served in the various US military branches, THANK YOU for all you have done to make this the greatest country in the history of the world.

    My father served in WW2, but in a very different capacity. He was a very young man conscripted into Mussolini’s army. He never talked about the war, other than to say when it was over that the living conditions in Italy were unbearable. He was lucky and his uncle sponsored him to be an exchange student at Pitt.

    He didn’t speak a word of English when he enrolled however graduated in 4 years with a business degree, married my mother soon after, and proudly became an American citizen. He was a sole proprietor of a business he started and grew successfully and lectured anyone who would listen on why America was the greatest country in the world.

    Funny thing, in the small town where we lived outside of Pittsburgh the VFW was in desperate need of a Treasurer. Knowing his business background they asked him to join and be the Treasurer. He explained why he wasn’t “worthy” of the role, but the local branch unanimously voted him into the VFW (after all they said, he was a Veteran of a Foreign War) and he became the Treasurer.

    Only in America, where all can have their dreams fulfilled, can something like this happen.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Taxing – do you know which years your dad was in the Business School at Pitt? I ask because from 1945 to 1948 my dad was working on his Masters and PhD in the Business School. In 1949 (I believe) he first taught in the undergrad program for some years then as a tenured professor moved up into teaching and administration in the Graduate school of Business.

      Wouldn’t it be a trip if they knew each other?

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m a student of the Civil War and WW11. I could walk you thru the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg and give you the names of the lead officers of each unit and share their locations during the battle.

    Like Reed, I work with Vets…at the Perry Point VA in MD. My church choir sings every other month there and we stay for dinner and mingle with the inpatients at Easter and Christmas. A forty two year tradition.

    One thing I’ve learned about war is that NO thing, strategy, or smallest engagement every goes as planned. I’ll bet Reed could tell a hundred story’s of going out on a mission and finding surprises.

    This is one thing that makes our Vets such amazing people. They adapted and overcame all kinds of horrible situations……yet many cannot adapt and overcome returning home! They’re mystified by PTSD and the hold it has on them.

    Reed, I’ve thanked you many times for your service. Thank again for your terrific writing on this day.

    God Bless our Vets!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Reed,

    My Dad graduated in either 1949 or 1950, sorry to say I’m not completely sure. So I guess it’s possible that they did know each other. If your Dad knew him or had him in class, it wouldn’t be hard to remember the young man with the heavy Italian accent.

    His Pitt education served him very well.

    Like

  23. OT – Jeff Capel’s 2020 squad was picked to only finish 13th in the 15 team ACC basketball conference.

    The pundits got it right with FB. Can’t help but think they are close again.

    A year ago, the Panthers finished 14th in conference with a record of 16-17 and 6-14 in the ACC.

    Maybe we see the First Year Fab Five resuscitate Pitt men’s BB.

    Like

  24. Reed and all our POV veterans, thank you so much for protecting our freedom.

    My father served in the Army in Northern Japan, in the mid 1950s intercepting and interpreting Russian radio broadcasts.
    My grandfather served with Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. I have an uncle who amazingly survived his career as an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Finally, one of my college brothers served 3 tours in the Middle East during the Gulf Wars in medical support. I couldn’t be prouder of all of them.
    Annie, like Fran, I will need to talk further about this with you when we next convene. My father also is a musician and I think he may have known your dad!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mark, my Uncle Kelly fought with Patton as well and was with him through North Africa, Sicily and landed after the beach-head was established and fought through the Battle of the Bulge to the Elbe River were the Krauts surrendered (I’m German) He was in mobile artillery_M7 Priest…he shared a lot of stories of the war before he passed and his son video-taped them…unbelievable the carnage and death he witnessed…..my grandpup once told me “Kelly wasn’t the same boy when he came home.” but that generation did their job in Europe and Asia, returned to work, had their families and made this country great…who were great men- wonderful examples to all of us lucky enough to call the Dad, uncle or Grandad….

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Dan, what are your thoughts on Pitt basketball’s preseason ACC ranking? Given the returning players, it seems a bit low to me.

    Like

  26. I think Pitt BBall will be marginally better. Much better inside with more size and strength.
    Much more depth at most positions. A little more maturity should help.
    No doubt point is still a major issue, but I think Pitt gets off the bottom this year.
    Addition by subtraction with McGowens. Horton a better shooter.

    Like

  27. If Johnson can increase his FG% slightly and decrease TOs he will be good. I think his TOs went down last year. Maybe that is just wishful thinking, LOL.

    They should have more depth at G, did the MAC kid get the okay to play this year?

    Like

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