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A Letter From Our President:

Yesterday, my great uncle, 1st Sergeant Hiram Collins, was one of 10 men honored at a Memorial Day service on Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary in Vero Beach. He was recognized for his Army Service and his life that was lost on D-Day at Normandy Beach.

As I scanned the crowd of the thousands in attendance, I was overcome with, not only gratitude, but also a tremendous level of pride. I kept thinking, why do I feel proud? I didn’t do anything. I’m not a veteran. I never even met Uncle Hiram, since he passed 42 years before I was born. I don’t deserve to feel this way.

What I figured out is that my pride does not come from my Uncle Hiram. He was just one man. By all accounts a great, honorable man, yes, but only one man. Each year hundreds of thousands of people willingly, without recognition or pretense, offer up their lives to serve this great country. They know the risks. They know the strain it puts on their loved ones. Yet still, countless Americans choose to serve. These people are the best of America. I don’t hold their same sense of dedication, bravery, conviction, or resolve, but I am fortunate enough to share at least one quality with each member of this prestigious group, I am an American. We are all Americans. With these great men and women among us, I’m allowed to feel proud. I’m proud to be an American. Thank you to my Uncle Hiram and all who serve for allowing me the freedom to feel pride that I did not earn. I will not take your sacrifices for granted and will continue to push myself to be the best American I can be.

Will Collins