VETERAN — As an acronym, what would the word mean to you? Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 November 2017
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Scott Sturkol
Special to GUIDON

As a military man, my life has been filled with acronyms for nearly 13 years. At times, it is almost like speaking another language.

Our military veterans also have lived that life and because of that, I had a thought. What would happen if we made a new acronym — VETERAN? What would that mean to you?

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, so I thought I would tell you what that word, as an acronym, would mean to me.

V — Victory. I use this word not only because of the many victories our veterans have achieved in defense of our freedom, but also because of the victories military families and the American people have won together to make this country strong. Victory at home is as important as victory on the battlefield.

E — Encouragement. American veterans have been an inspiration to me my entire life. To this day, whether I am out in the community or back in my hometown, the veterans I come across inspire me to do better because of the sacrifices they made for the way of life I enjoy today. As a veteran myself, the encouragement I get from my own family also helps me to do better and makes me proud of the work I do as an Airman every day.

T — Tough. I always find a sense of toughness in all veterans no matter what conflict, service, or time they served. Whether it was in the trenches of World War I, or braving powerful sandstorms in the deserts of Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Storm or Operation Iraqi Freedom, I know our veterans have seen the good, the bad and the ugly and persevered. That takes toughness few can muster. Being tough is also something loved ones left behind do each day. The work of the homefront force is underestimated by many. Military family members who have faced this have certainly earned my salute.

E — Educate. Military veterans, from yesterday and today, are among our best educators and community volunteers. For many vets, the service to their country doesn’t end when they leave the service. It is a lifelong commitment to not only share their experiences, but to make America stronger.

R — Resolve. I don’t doubt that each and every veteran has strived to be the best in all he or she has done. The “R” in the acronym can also mean “remembrance.” Military veterans know it’s important to never forget the sacrifices that have been made to protect this country.

A — Appreciate. There is no uncertainty in my mind that military veterans are appreciated in America. For example, when I was traveling in uniform for a stateside temporary duty assignment earlier this year, I had several people thank me for my service while I was at the St. Louis International Airport in Missouri. I have heard the same sentiment nearly everywhere I go. Whether in the city of Grand Forks here in North Dakota, or somewhere else in this great nation, I have heard and seen the appreciation the American people have for their military members past and present.

N — Never. I say never because we should never forget our veterans who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice. We should never forget the families who have sacrificed and given much of themselves to support military members who have deployed to fight the wars of past and present. We, as Americans, should never relent in defending our freedom and our way of life. Through our veterans, we’ve been able to do just that.

On Veterans Day, come up with your own meaning for this acronym. It is another way we can honor all those who gave us the one thing we cherish the most — our freedom.

(Editor’s note: Sturkol was with the 319th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs at the time this was written.)