The end of the year. And what a year it has been! After 20 years of fighting, nation building, and pouring billions into a dark hole, we find ourselves right back where we started.

About 3.3 million veterans have served in the Post 9-11/Gulf War II era. This veteran population is about 1/2 the size of the remaining living Vietnam veteran population of 6.7 million. The Gulf War I veterans make up about 3.7 million vets. We only have about 1.7 million remaining Korean War vets and our Greatest Generation of WWII vets is down to 800,000. Only about 5% of the WWII vets are still with us. Cherish them and thank them whenever you see one. They are going fast.

We need to take care of the needs of our Afghanistan vets right now. Those of us who went through the tragic loss in Vietnam in 1975 after 10 years of war know exactly how these warriors feel. It is a terrible feeling to know that all the many years of service and sacrifice that our service men and women put in is now a lost cause. Please give these brave service members a big thank you for everything that they did. They and their families suffered through multiple deployments over this 20 year period. They did their jobs. They did what was asked of them. They served us well. They should keep their heads held high.

We do need to remember 7 December. What an important day in the history of our great country. This is one of those days that will probably always be remembered. It had such a profound effect on our parents and grandparents. A lot of us are here today because of it. At the end of WWII our fathers and mothers reunited and the result was an entire generation of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. During that 22 year period there were about 76 million of us born. Congratulations to those of you who are in this age group. A lot of us then became Vietnam War Veterans. Thank you for your service.

We have a couple of important Birthdays to remember: The National Guard is 385 years old on 13 December. They were a militia and were considered a military force in the year 1636. They have served us well for many years and continue to serve in this country and overseas as ordered. In the beginning they were only Army units and now they also have Air Force units in every state plus DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The other Birthday is 20 December–the U. S. Space Force. Two years old and growing. They will be a force to contend with in the near future.

This brings us to Christmas, 25 December. I hope that each and every one of our veterans and their families have a Blessed Christmas. We are lucky indeed to be born in this wonderful country with all the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy. We are also Blessed to live in this wonderful State of Texas. May God Bless you this Holiday Season.

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