They put their lives on the line for us daily. They give up time with their friends and family. They shrug off luxuries. They are soldiers.
Joel Martinez is one of those soldiers. Martinez started his military career as an enlisted soldier in the United States Army, where he served for four years while taking night classes.
“I started to develop leadership capabilities that my officers deemed worthy of a commission, so they recommended I go back to school and serve as an officer,” Martinez said.
The majority of his career was spent in beautiful South Korea before settling in Riverside.
California Baptist University houses an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program that provides the educational and physical preparation for a career as an officer.
When asked about the gratefulness he receives for serving from those around him, Martinez said, “When I’m in uniform, I often receive a thank-you from citizens. I always tell them, ‘Thank you for allowing me to serve you.’”
Many soldiers, like Martinez, do not boast or flaunt the sacrifices they make daily.
Veterans Day is a federal holiday to thank our current soldiers like Martinez and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Former President Woodrow Wilson, who initiated the first observance of what we know as Veterans Day, said on November 11, 1919:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
It is not only on Veterans Day that our soldiers are remembered for their duties. Americans are reminded daily of the trials and sufferings soldiers endure. It is not simply a day off. Next time you see a Veteran out or in class, thank them for protecting your freedom.
“Veterans Day is such an important day, not only for those serving in uniform but for all Americans. We are reminded of the sacrifices our past heroes made to defend our freedom. We remember those who gave their lives to protect this wonderful country,” Martinez said.