What Veterans Day Means... (11/11/13)


Flag being delivered at the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon

Me and Grandpa Lujan in 2003

11:00 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918 — Armistice Day, the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front for World War I. After World War II the name was changed to Veterans Day/Remembrance Day and it was prescribed to be a day to remember those who died in armed conflict; however, in the United States Veterans Day honors all American veterans, whether living, died in action or deceased from other causes, which is what we celebrate today. Note that we also have a Memorial Day in remembrance of our dead and I believe that holiday was established post Civil War. These holidays often get confused with each other and while honoring those that died while serving is important, it is essential to note that these holidays are quite different.

So what does Veterans Day mean to me? Well, growing up I had two grandfathers who served honorably in the Army in WWII and a couple of uncles who served in Vietnam. I was raised to be a proud American and to honor those who served in the defense of our country; however, that role changed when I entered the Marine Corps. One of the things that Marine Corps boot camp does exceptionally well is instill what we like to call Esprit De Corps. You often hear when a man or woman returns from boot camp that they are changed and speak in a foreign language and that they are so different that it’s often times wondered if there was some kind of “brainwashing”; let me be the first to tell you that there is absolutely no such thing. What does take place is a transformation of the mind starting with heavy doses of yelling, confusion, physical exertion and utter chaos. However, intermixed with all of these is an indoctrination into the history of the United States and the Marine Corps. We graduate with an overwhelming sense of pride to not let down those that have served before us and to above all else serve with honor, courage and commitment.

With that being said it is a very special day for me; in fact, Marines are fortunate in that we celebrate the birth of our Marine Corps, 11/10/1775, the day before. We are blessed to have two days of celebration. Anyhow, to get back on track, I spend the day calling, emailing and text messaging those who have served with me and before me, those who continue to serve, and thinking about those who served and passed away after their service. I will also blessed to be inundated with much of the same from my brothers and sisters in arms. Often times there are parades and celebrations all over the United States and I have had the pride to march in a few of them. To go back a little I have so many people that have touched my life while serving on active duty and have met many more since I have retired. 

And then there is my family: 

Edwin P. Walsh — 10th Mountain Division, WWII (Bronze Star)

Edward Lujan, Sr. — U.S. Army Signal Corps, WWII

Charles A. Lujan — Battery C, 1st Battalion 39th Artillery, 109th Artillery Group, Republic Of Vietnam (Bronze Star and Purple Heart)

Kevin J. Kelly — Golf Company, 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment, Republic of Vietnam (Purple Heart)

Technical Sergeant Joseph R. Lujan, Jr. — Defense Intelligence Agency, Iraq (active duty)

I could go on and on but I think that the point of my blog this month is that even though I am now representing the United States in a different capacity, I will always be extremely loyal to the men and women who have chosen to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

So to all of those who have served or are currently serving: God bless and thank you for your service. I want to give a special shout-out to Marine SSgt Adam Wahab who is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Stay safe, Rocket!

Thank all of you for your continued support of me and my teammates, and wish us luck on the Road to Sochi! Go Team USA!!!

Don't forget to follow my journey on Twitter: @JonnyVolcano44, or Facebook: Jon Lujan Adaptive Alpine Skier.