With respect and gratitude

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The nose turret from a B25 Mitchell houses a machine gun capable of firing 450 .50 cal. rounds per minute. This bomber was flown by the Doolittle Raiders during the first air attack on Japan in 1942 following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The Raider crews trained at Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

I live down the road from this AF base. Instead of B25s, I see F16 fighter jets on a regular basis. I’ve been here more than 20 years, and I never tire of seeing these war birds flying, or hearing the roar of their engines.

Sometimes when I am driving on the highway into town, pairs of fighters cross the road as they perform “touch and go” exercises on the adjacent base runway, so low I can read the numbers off their fuselage. It still gives me a thrill.

My father served in the Navy, my father-in-law was career Air Force, retired. I have friends and family who serve and have served proudly in our military service.

Regardless of how you feel about the US military presence on foreign soil, our servicemen and women, and their families, deserve our respect and gratitude for the sacrifices they have made and the security they provide.

On this Veterans’ Day, as on every other day of the year, we should honor the members of our military services.

*Photo taken at the Air Force Armament Museum, Shalimar, FL

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