Veterans Day is always a hard day for me because, in my eyes, the world lost its bravest veteran five and half years ago when my hero died. My grandfather, Bertram Maas, was an amazing man who served his country proudly from the time he entered the Naval Academy at 18, to the years he flew Marine One for three presidents, till he retired several decades later as a decorated colonel.
And after his active years in the marines were over, my grandfather was fortunate enough to have a loving wife and six sons to come home to when he retired. He was able to come home safe and sound and sleep in for the first time in his life, and play with his dog, and take vacations with my grandmother. He even decided to go to law school to begin a second career, because that’s just how Pops rolled. But I know not all veterans are as fortunate as my grandfather was, and that not every one who serves our country comes home to a safe and loving environment or has the chance to start a new career.
So, on this special day, I want all those veterans out there who are struggling to know that we are grateful for what they did. That we thank them for what they did. That we will never forget what they did. And that they are not alone. That there are resources for them in this world, and that hopefully there will be more and more resources as time goes by.
Bert Maas was a strong leader who never shied away from a challenge, even after he retired. And so, this Veterans Day I want to honor him, and those like him, who have both served their country valiantly, and found a way to live full lives when they returned home from active duty.
Semper fi, Pops.