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A new appreciation of Veterans Day

By BY RANDLE W. GALNEAU
Nov. 10, 2010 at 5:10 a.m.

Randle Galneau's sons both serve in the U.S. Army. Shown at the Ranger Memorial at Fort Benning, Ga. From left are, Spc. Connor Galneau and Capt. Brian Galneau.

I have never really thought about Veterans Day before. My dad and grandfathers were veterans but you always think of your dad and grandfathers as larger than life and their time in the service as ancient history.

I became aware of the importance of Veterans Day when my two sons became soldiers.

Both of my sons are in the U.S. Army. My oldest son is an infantry captain and has done a yearlong deployment in Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division and is now with the 10th Mountain Division. He was a graduate of Texas Tech University.

My youngest son graduated from high school and enlisted soon after. He served with the 75th Infantry Regiment 1st Ranger Battalion and the 3rd Infantry Division. My youngest son did three deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

Both of my sons have conducted combat operations in some of the most hostile locations in the world, from the highest mountains to the hottest deserts, and I have marveled at one thing for the last five years: They have never whined or complained about their deployments. They are the best of America's professional soldiers. They are the point of America's tactical spear.

I have watched both of my sons as they have suffered and sweated and bled through Infantry School, Airborne School and Ranger School.

I have worried about them during their deployments. I have listened to their stories and I am amazed. I am in awe of these young men whom I have watched grow from young kids to America's elite soldiers. I am proud beyond words.

I have tried to attend all of my sons' graduations from their schools and courses and I have become aware of something else about America's military: All of the young people I have met while visiting these military posts have been exceptional. I am just as proud of these young soldiers and sailors as I am of my own sons.

Veterans Day has a new importance to me. The unselfish sacrifice of America's soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will never be fully appreciated by the rest of us who go about our lives under the constant protection of these young heroes.

Randle W. Galneau lives in Goliad.

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