Veterans Day: What our service means to us
Today is Veterans Day, when we reflect and give thanks to those that have served our nation. To all of America’s veterans, past and present, thank you for your service and for the example you set!
For this Veterans Day, we asked our all-veteran field to share why they chose to answer the call and what their military service means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
Isaac Eagan, COO
“I joined the Army in ’99, never expecting what the next decade would bring. I’d wanted to be a soldier for as long as I could remember, but my experiences during my years in Iraq – both good and bad – shaped me in ways I could not have foreseen. Most of all, those experiences reinforced my love of country and developed bonds with my comrades in arms that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.
Today, as I engage military teams around the world, the thing that stands out in my mind is the way American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are viewed by citizens of the countries in which they’re working. Almost invariably, they are viewed as representatives of hope and progress. That’s a pretty powerful message for these men and women in uniform – our country’s frontline ambassadors – to carry forward.”
Chris Clary, Director of Citizen-Military Partnerships
“I enlisted in the Army while America was at war. I wanted to serve and I wanted to go fight for my country. I chose a path that, if I could make it through, would take me directly to a Special Forces team and immediately overseas into combat.
My favorite memories from my time in the military were all made in Afghanistan with my teammates and the Afghan soldiers and police we were training and fighting alongside. I am proud to have worn the flag on my shoulder and served this great nation. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to serve as part of the Spirit of America team.”
Chris VanJohnson, Deputy Director of Field Operations
“I started Army ROTC in September of 2001, just a couple weeks before 9/11. When the towers fell, I knew what was coming but felt honored to be in a position to serve my country.
I made the decision to join the Army as a senior in high school. I was lucky enough to grow up in a great town, with a great family, and a great education, largely due to the fact that I was born an American. I wanted to give back to the country that gave me so much.”
Nick Glasgow, Project Manager – Africa
“Growing up, I often heard both of my grandpas fondly reflect on their time in the service (Army/Air Force). They both had amazing stories and adventures that enthralled my young mind. I didn’t understand what service really meant until I saw my brother being shaped into an airman and officer at the Air Force Academy. This transformation and the pride he took in his pursuit to be the best officer he could be motivated me to follow in my grandparents’ and brother’s footsteps.
My service, which continues to this day in the Army Reserves, has been everything I could have asked for and more, and has taken me across the globe, allowing me to meet amazing people that are now lifelong friends.”
Nicholette Parrish, Project Manager – Latin America
“Serving was the honorable thing to do in my family. Both my grandfathers were in the military, as were my father, two of my aunts, and several cousins. My mother was in law enforcement for 20 years so I guess you can say it was in my blood. Personally, I wanted to do something good for my country, something bigger than myself.
My favorite military memory would have to be deploying with Terrell and my Cultural Support Team to Afghanistan in 2014. The friendship and sisterhood we shared in one of the most challenging and fierce environments is something that will never be forgotten, and always treasured.”
Andy Duhon, Project Manager – Africa
“Happy Veterans Day to the supporters of Spirit of America – I choose to answer the call to service nearly sixteen years ago by enlisting in the United States Navy and later commissioning as an officer in the United States Army. Serving in the military filled my desire and internal hunger to aid my nation and citizens in a time of war in a meaningful manner that requires sacrifice and strength.
I believe that service to our country was the greatest honor I could bestow on my family members who previously served across the battlefield in Europe, Asia, and Africa.”
Terrell Chandler, Project Manager – Asia Pacific
“I never grew up thinking I would join the military, and I only found out a few years ago that I had a family history of Naval service. Turns out my grandfather served in the Navy. Like most things in my life, I was in the right place at the right time.
I came to a point where I knew I wanted to be in a position to make a difference, and a Navy recruiter I met through a mutual friend told me the Navy was looking for Corpsman. When I heard the details of the job, I just knew I had to do it, and I can honestly say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Nick Israel, Project Manager – Europe
“A great part about service in the Army was the opportunity to play a small but meaningful part in the defense of our unique system of governance based on individual liberty and freedom.
I’m also grateful for the eternal connection to past, present, and future military personnel, bonded by patriotism, service, and a common love for America and our Constitutional values.”
Dan Hewitt, Project Manager – Latin America
“I joined the military after I finished college in 2009. It had been a dream of mine to serve in the military ever since I was in elementary school. My father and both my grandfathers had served in the military, so I am proud to have served my country honorable as they had in wars past.”
From everyone here at SoA, thank you to all who answered the call. We owe our nation’s greatness to heroes like you. Happy Veterans Day.
The Spirit of America Team