We are thinking of our military veterans today, and feeling extremely grateful for their sacrifice and service. Arkansas is home to around 250,000 veterans who have served our country and helped protect our freedom. If you haven’t reached out to a veteran you know today – give them a call and tell them thank you! You could also attend a Veterans Day event in your area, or visit a VA hospital. There are endless ways to thank a veteran, and if you need more ideas check out this link.
One way to honor a veteran is to ask about his or her service. We recently talked with ATLA member Monte Sharits about his time of service, and he shared with us about his time as a Navy SEAL. Sharits enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1995, and after a couple years of training, he became a Navy SEAL in 1997. He was stationed at SEAL Team One in Coronado, CA. In 2002, he served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
In the years that followed, Sharits attended undergraduate school at night while he was a SEAL instructor. He left the Navy in 2007 as an E-6 to begin law school at the
University of Arkansas.
Sharits said, “Growing up, I had always wanted to be in the military in some capacity. I wanted to be a SEAL for a few reasons. First, I enlisted in the middle of a long period of peace, so I figured that if anyone was going to see combat, the SEALs would be among the first. Second, I loved the ocean and surfing, and figured I’d be comfortable in that environment. Last, the SEAL bases were places where I was excited to live (San Diego, Virginia Beach, and Hawaii), again, so I could live on the beach and surf.
It’s still a little embarrassing for me when people thank me for my service. It’s appreciated, but really, it’s not at all necessary. I was doing something I wanted to do more than anything else. When I think of Veterans Day now, I remember the people that I served with. Most of them have recently retired and are now spread across the country like we were before our service. It’s nearly impossible to stay in touch with everybody, but I think about them on Veterans Day and I’d bet they’re probably doing the same thing.”
To all of our military veterans, thank you. We are grateful for each and everyone of you, and each of your families.