First, I want to say what you and your organization does for past and present service members is amazing. The way you make them feel appreciated, loved and respected is unmatched.
Second, THANK YOU for making me one of those service members you honored. I can't begin to explain the feeling I had when I saw those motorcycles rolling down the road with a fire truck following blaring it's siren. The sound of all of that, I will never forget. Then to think that was all for me blew my mind. I've never felt comfortable being the center of attention but I felt at ease when Tom Manning first greeted me. The passion that him and his crew showed made me feel so damn proud. Some had tears in their eyes, some couldn't stop thanking me. It was a feeling that I've never felt before.
I didn't initially join the Army for the purpose of serving my country but I stayed in the Army for that reason. All throughout my career, I felt like it was just my job. I didn't truly feel what me and my battle buddies did was something out of the ordinary. Maybe it's because it was was I was used to. We all did the same things. Deploying, carrying weapons, and all the training was just what we did. I was always proud and honored to wear the US Army uniform, but maybe because I did it everyday it just because my way of life. On May 27, everything sunk in. I never felt so proud to be part of the Army.
I can't put into words how thankful I am for what you and everybody involved did for me that day. It was truly one of the best moments of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.