This Veteran’s Day I’m reminded of so much. My father, Major General Bob Patterson, served for 33 years, flew in combat in Vietnam and was the first commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command. The guys doing the sneaky stuff, quietly and professionally. Yeah, he started that. Amazing and inspirational. And lethal.

I served for 20 years with so many great people. 69 countries and hundreds of stories told and untold. Combat, being stupid for no reason, work hard play hard, 30 hour days, coffee and beer. In the end, service, always service. Always wearing an American flag on my shoulder and in my heart. The highlight of my life. Until marriage with Nichole LaGrow Patterson and parenting our amazing children.

Military service is a privilege and, at the same time, inexplicable. It’s an honor. The bond, the brotherhood, the tempting of fate when others are trying to kill you. In the end, it’s all about service. For a greater calling. Service before self. And it’s incredibly gratifying if you’re an American. It’s compelling and real.

I sometimes wonder what’s happened to our nation. The disconnect with our military and our citizens. During World War Two, 12% of our nation’s population were in the military. Today? Less than 1% of our citizens are either in, or associated with, our men and women in uniform.

Today, please honor our veterans. Those who have served and those who are serving. It doesn’t pay well and it frequently takes you thousands of miles away from your loved ones. Drop your political angst and say thanks to a vet.

It means the world.

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Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson, United States Air Force (Retired), is a military combat pilot, distinguished White House military aide, bestselling author, and popular conservative public speaker. Among Patterson’s literary efforts include two New York Times best sellers, Dereliction of Duty and Reckless Disregard. His most recent books include War Crimes and Conduct Unbecoming. Patterson served 20 years as a pilot on active duty in the United States Air Force and saw tours of duty world-wide including combat operations in Grenada, Bosnia, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Rwanda, and Haiti. From 1996 to 1998, Colonel Patterson was Military Aide to President Bill Clinton. During that time, he served at the right hand of President and Mrs. Hillary Clinton and was responsible for the President's Emergency Satchel, otherwise known as the "Nuclear Football," the black bag with the nation's nuclear capability that accompanies the president at all times. As such, Patterson had an office and a bedroom in the White House and accompanied the First Family at all times. In addition, Colonel Patterson was operational commander for all military units assigned to the White House, which included Air Force One, Marine One, Camp David, and the White House Transportation Agency. Patterson was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Air Command and Staff College; he has his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech University and a Master's in Business Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He, his wife and their three children currently reside in California. www.buzzpatterson.net Facebook @ Buzz Patterson Twitter @ BuzzPatterson

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