With Military Appreciation Month upon us, we would like to honor a hero in your life. We welcome you to use this space to honor your favorite active-duty or veteran member of the armed forces. Simply submit a photo and short bio of your beloved service member below.

My Story

On the evening of September 10, 2001, I was in Fort Worth to witness my brother being sworn into the US Naval Reserves. It was an honor to see him choose to serve our nation in the same way as our father, and both our grandfathers. Approximately 12 hours later, our nation was devastated by a militant extremist group in the 9/11 attacks, and all domestic flights were grounded for three days.

SEE MORE: Shop Local With These Veteran-Owned Abilene Businesses 

I remember hearing the unmistakable roar of plane engines on the afternoon of September 11 and looked outside to see two jets from Fort Worth’s Carswell Air Force Base circling the city. It was a chilling moment – observing this unexpected patrol – but the presence of those jets reassured me. This is what the United States Military has been doing for almost 250 years: protecting our nation, reassuring the rest of us that someone stands guard.

Since the formative years of the US Military, their mission has been to fortify and ensure our country’s security. This particular mission has often come at a high cost. In remembrance of the many sacrifices made by armed forces and their families, the entire month of May has been designated as Military Appreciation Month. In early 1999, Senator John McCain proposed the month-long observance; Congress unanimously approved. Since then, May 1 through May 31 have been a time designated to show appreciation to all branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Space Force, and National Guard.

Abilene has long been a “military town”, with communal ties to the armed forces dating back to 1942. It was then that Tye Army Air Field, the site that would later become Dyess Air Force Base, was established.  Dyess AFB is now the Big Country’s single largest employer, and an integral part to the Abilene community.  For a detailed history of Dyess AFB, click here.

Some simple ways to extend appreciation to our US service members include expressing gratitude (verbally or in writing), sending care packages to deployed troops, and/or participating in a program like Home Away From Home, committed to providing meals and friendship to first-term enlistments.

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