Pedro Hernandez. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY PEDRO HERNANDEZ
MSGT, USMC, Retired
Editor’s note: MSGT Hernandez delivered the following speech Saturday during the 2023 Veterans Day Ceremony at Ashley Pond. He is currently an Emergency Response Specialist at Los Alamos National Laboratory
As a veteran who has served our country, I stand before you with a heart full of gratitude and a deep sense of appreciation for the unwavering support and understanding you have shown to us veterans and our families. It is with great humility that I thank each and everyone of you for the sacrifices you have made on our behalf, and for recognizing the challenges and adversities that we have faced in service to our great nation.
The life of a military service member is one of sacrifice, duty and commitment. It is a life that often involves being separated from loved ones for extended periods, enduring the rigors of conflict and war, and bearing the weight of responsibility in the name of freedom and security. The sacrifices we make as service members echo far beyond the battlefield, impacting every facet of our lives, from the physical and emotional toll it takes on us, to the missed milestones and cherished moments with our families.
However, it is not just the service members who bear the burdens of sacrifice. Behind every service members stands a family, a network of loved ones who support and sacrifice for their loved ones.
In the face of these sacrifices, the unwavering support and understanding that we have received from our local community have been a source of immense comfort and inspiration. Your acts of kindness, your expressions of gratitude, and your commitment to honoring our service have not gone unnoticed. You have stood by us, demonstrating compassion, empathy, and a deep appreciation for the challenges we have faced.
Far beyond the words of “thank you”, your actions have spoken volumes. From the community initiatives aimed at supporting veterans’ mental health and well-being, to the outreach programs that provide assistance to veterans in need, you have exemplified the true spirit of unity and compassion. You have been the foundation upon which we have found solace, the community that has embraced us with open arms, and the source of hope and encouragement during the most difficult moments.
As we gather here today, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for the profound impact you have had on the veterans in our community and their families. Your support has been a beacon of light in the darkest of times, and your commitment to honoring the sacrifices made by veterans and their families has been a testament to the strength and compassion of our community.
In closing, I urge all of us to continue fostering a culture of understanding, compassion, and support for our veterans and their families. Let us honor their sacrifices, acknowledge their contributions, and provide them with the unwavering support they deserve. Together we can ensure that the sacrifices made by veterans and their families are never forgotten and that they continue to be valued and appreciated for generations to come.
God bless you all, God bless our veterans and service members’ families, and God bless America.