Kelli is a U.S. Army Veteran of Afghanistan and a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal. She is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

The definition of Veteran is a person who has served in the military. It’s such a short definition that it can’t possibly encompass what being a Veteran means.

While people often think of a Veteran as someone who served in a combat zone, that isn’t always the case. Even the Veterans who served, but not in a combat zone, don’t always think of themselves as Veterans. They are. Their contributions are just as important as those who went to a combat zone.

Veterans Day, to me, is a day when we stop and remember the days that Americans spent away from their families. The missed birthdays, Christmases, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, and the strain on the personal relationships from the time spent apart. Whether we are overseas or in America, there are life milestones that we miss. Even during the holidays, there’s a requirement that a portion of each military unit must be within a two hour drive of the base. These men and women are the nation’s first line of defense if something goes wrong.

My mom passed away in June of 2016 at the age of 55. Looking back, there were so many Mother’s Days that I wish I could have spent with her. So many birthdays that I missed, so many days of my mom’s life that I’ll never get back, days that I’ll never be able to make up.

That’s what Veterans Day represents to me. It’s the day that I remember the days of my life that I’ll never get back. It’s the day that I’m thankful that I don’t have to miss those days any more because there are men and women who are missing their families so that I can spend time with mine.

This Veterans Day, I hope you’ll join us at one of our local events.

• Sunday, November 11. Southern Shores 11:00 a.m. at the Town Hall Flag Pavilion

• Monday, November 12th, Manteo 10:00 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial outside of the Arts Council

• Nags Head at 11:00 a.m. at Town Hall,

• Kill Devil Hills at 12:30 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” – President Ronald Reagan

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