EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE –  The end of World War I is commonly understood as the inspiration for our #VeteransDay. On 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns fell silent and the war officially ended. Yet, I believe that the spirit of Veterans Day in America began well before then.

Three hundred and ninety nine years ago, on what might be considered the first American Veterans Day, a group of pilgrims and patriots sat in the safety of Plymouth Harbor on November 11th, 1620. They were Veterans of a harsh 66-day journey across the northern Atlantic Ocean. Before they set foot on dry ground, they drafted a statement of common purpose and dependence upon one another in order to achieve their mission. They signed the Mayflower Compact to “covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation.” That document and their community became the inspiration for our nation’s founding principles and the foundation of their success.

One hundred and fifty-six years later, 56 men signed our Declaration of Independence. These patriots were to be Veterans of the American Revolution that would consume their lives for the next seven years. In the last line of that document, they crafted their own covenant of common purpose and dependence upon one another in order to achieve their mission: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” That document and their community became the inspiration for this nation and the foundation of their success.

Today, our nation relies upon us to mold and shape America’s arsenal to face a world characterized by severe challenges. May we be inspired, encouraged, challenged and convicted by the passion for purpose and the commitment to community by the Veterans of times past. Our success at #EdwardsAirForceBase and our ability to achieve our mission must be fueled by these critical characteristics.

Happy Veterans Day! It is a great joy of my life to serve alongside of you here at The Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe as we strive together #forthewarfighter with common purpose and dependence upon one another.

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