Today, on Veterans Day, I would like to thank all of those who have served and are currently serving in our military. I can worship freely and write without fear because of your sacrifices. You are the true heroes. Our nation can never repay you for what you have given to her.

While I do want to express my appreciation to all veterans and active duty military, I have one veteran that means even more to me – my dad. He enlisted during the Vietnam War to serve in the SeaBees, the Construction Battalions of the Navy. As a civilian, he worked with my grandfather paving and making roads. So he joined the SeaBees and did the same thing in Vietnam.

It is a part of the military that doesn’t get much attention, but the SeaBees date back to WWII. Their official motto is “Construimus, Battuimus” or “We Build, We Fight.” And that’s just what they do, not only do they have to be experts at construction, they also have to know how to handle weapons and engage in fighting. During the Vietnam War, Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields become the first and only SeaBee to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He was recognized posthumously.

I’m thankful my dad never really had to see serious fighting and came home uninjuried. I’m proud of him and his service to our country and I’m grateful to all the veterans and active duty, especially those who did not and will not make it home, you have taught this nation an important lesson about the greatest love.