Sergeant Major Bob Boone asked the audience to close their eyes for a moment to think about someone they know who has worn the uniform and served in the military.
“Those people are unique people,” he said. “Less than 5 percent of the people in the United States living today are veterans, so it’s a very small percentage that have stood up and said ‘I will answer the call.’”
Boone spoke to Braham Area High School students during the Veterans Day program on Monday, Nov. 12. Veterans Day is a unique day, Boone said, because people have the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to that 5 percent.
He then had members of the audience who served in World War II stand to applause.
“Thank you for standing and thank you for what you did,” Boone said. “There’s two million of you left and there’s four in this crowd. Those are local heroes.”
Following World War II veterans, Boone asked Korean War veterans to stand for applause, followed by Vietnam War veterans, Persian Gulf and finally, those who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s not by accident and its not by happenstance that we remain a free country,” he said. “It’s because of these folks we applauded and they so justly richly deserve our applause and our respect and our admiration.”
He said veterans should be thanked beyond veterans day.
“Veterans Day is an event, albeit a very important event,” Boone said. “What we need to do is use it as a day to determine what the other 364 days will be like for our veterans.”
Veterans Day, Boone said, is a call to arms—a day to ask ‘what is our mission that comes out of today?’
“What can we do as individuals, what can we do with the organizations we belong to, to put an umbrella or a safety net around these people who have signed that blank check and cashed it?” Boone said. “All of the people who wore the uniform gave something, and those who aren’t sitting here today, in many cases, gave their all.”
Boone said he works with Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, which supports the county’s military service members, veterans and their families by coordinating services and resources available to them.
Boone said he encourages everyone to support veterans in any way they can, whether it’s through Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon or through a random act of kindness.
“They don’t have to be big things, they don’t need to be big things,” Boone said. “They need to be things we see and we do because beyond Veterans Day, we appreciate these folks. We appreciate what they did, we appreciate what they stand for and we appreciate what they gave us.”