Veterans Day and a 23-Year-Old Medal of Honor Winner

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By Nicholas W. Stuller

Veterans Day has always had special, but very familiar memories for me. Many members of my family have served in the military, and some currently serve. My father, mother, sister, both maternal grandparents, a niece and her husband, two brothers in law and my father in law have collectively served in the Navy, Army, Marines, and the former Army Air Corps.

On this day, we all owe an incredible debt of gratitude to those who serve in our military to protect us. It is quite a significant thing to volunteer knowing full well you could be permanently injured, or lose your life. My sense is we collectively do not let that notion sink in and consider the gravity of such service.

All throughout my childhood, young adult life and today I hear many firsthand stories about their service. These stories have made me more appreciative of what they have done. I thank my family who has and continues to serve, and thank all veterans for their service.

I also heard many second and third hand military stories growing up. The one that I have reflected on more than others was from my grandmother, she herself serving in the Navy during World War One. Her uncle was Thomas E. O’Shea posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor, also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government for acts of valor. Thomas was killed during the first World War while he and two others attempted to rescue a trapped tank crew behind enemy lines.

Thomas was 23 years old when he died in combat, came from a very wealthy family in the New York area, and of course volunteered for duty. He willingly risked his life in an attempt to save others’ lives. As I have gotten older, I have reflected on the absurdity of physical combat as a method to solve differences between nations. More so, I think about how young those who serve are, and how much they are giving up-literally their entire future at risk. I think of myself at 18, I think of my nieces and nephews, and think of my four-year old daughter and it is chilling to say the least to envision someone so young to risk so much.

The idealistic part of me thinks that if the Geneva Convention were amended to only allow someone over the age of 50 to fight, we likely would never see another war. We all owe incredible gratitude to the men and women who risk their lives, youth and futures to keep the rest of us safe.

Nicholas W. Stuller is the Founder and CEO of MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor.com, a 30-year veteran of the financial services industry and author of THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOUR WALLET FREE: Secrets to Finding the Perfect Financial Advisor, published in 2018 by Post Hill Press.

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