Veterans Day 2013

Today’s article is about my father, George Borden… Well, actually it’s about Veterans Day and all of the people who have served in the United States armed forces also known as “veterans.” However, I’m going to dedicate it to someone that I’m very proud of and honored to call “father.”

First off, let’s define what Veterans Day is:

It’s a federal holiday that is observed on November 11; which also marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

Now back to the star of our story… George was in Vietnam from July 15, 1968 until July 15, 1969. His unit was “A” Battery 1st of the 30th Artillery 1st Air Cavalry. During his tour in Vietnam, George served in I, II, III, and IV Corps. His radio handle was “Hard Charger 24” and his battery received numerous commendation ribbons, medals, and citations.

George is not really a superstitious man, but on Friday the 13th, June 13th, 1969 he walked out of his tent and it took a direct artillery hit moments later. Unfortunately these kind of things happen on a regular basis during war, and George faced these types of things repeatedly.

On one occasion, George ran into a burning building that contained several 50-gallon drums of fuel. He did this because an injured soldier was trapped in the building. When he realized he could not get the man out, he quickly rolled the 50-gallon drums out of the fire; which allowed others to help save the man’s life. For this heroic act, George was awarded the Bronze Star (this medal is the fourth-highest individual military award) for acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

The medal is obviously something I’m proud of, but that is not the extent of my feelings about George

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. War is hell and he served despite this. For that, I am not only proud, but also eternally grateful. I love my father with all of my heart and his military service is only one small piece of the things that make me proud and honored to be his son.

I told my children that this article was about their “Granddaddy” and they both asked to say something…

Xander, my five year old son, said, “I’m proud of my Granddaddy because he protected us in the war.”

Trinity, my eight year old daughter, said, “Granddaddy always reads ‘Goodnight Little Mouse’ to us, and I love being with him on holidays. He’s my hero.”

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”


In 1945, World War II veteran, Raymond Weeks, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans (not just those who died in World War I). General Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of a National Veterans Day, agreed. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. Also, in 1982, President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal and named him as the driving force for the national holiday. To this day, Weeks is known as the “Father of Veterans Day.”

I’d like to take this time to thank all of the people in my life who have served in the U.S. military. I can’t possibly remember everyone, but I am eternally grateful to all. A few key people who have directly impacted my life are, Scean Ripley, Kim Ripley, Laine Ripley, Dano Christensen, Paul Ostrowski, Solomon Roller, Ben “slow poke” Srigley, Sadiki “WTJHAND” Harriott, Dan Bennett, Jack Breazeale, Jim Zak, David Crosby, Chuck Underwood, Robert “Mike” Johnson, Alan “William” Altizer, Richard Myers, Dan “Uncle Dan” McNally, Chris “what bone should I break next?” Marra, and Carl “Chuck Norris” Wright. Thank you very much for your service

And, I’d like to give a shout-out to all who have served… Thank you for your past, present, and future service!

Finally, I will close with a special thank you to the man of the day, my father, George Borden. Thank you, Dad!

Please take a moment and think of all of the people you know who have or are serving our country in the military. Close your eyes and think gratefully about all military personnel.

Thank you for listening (reading). Hugs and peace to all…


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About Vaughn Ripley

Vaughn is a happily married daddy, author, and CIO. He is an HIV+ hemophiliac, and is one of the longest surviving HIV+ people in the universe.
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  1. Hi Vaughn,

    Thank you to your dad for his service and to you for this inspiring piece. These men do all the stuff that the heroic movie stars do, but in real life, with no camera rolling, to protect our freedom and to help those in need. So empowering.

    I met a number of vets living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 6 months. Many never returned to the US after the war or just stopped by for a bit, then bounced. The physical and mental toll still wreaks havoc on many of these men; one man noted waiting up 3:15 AM every night on the dot for at least 45 minutes to do perimeter checks, every night since the war.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Dan McNally says

    Good words, Vaughn. My thanks to your father, my brother-in-arms, for his service, and to you and your family for your friendship.

  3. Dano Christensen says

    Thanks Vaughn

  4. Wow Vaughn this article is great. Sorry I didn’t read it earlier.
    I want to echo your sentiments of gratitude for all who have and will serve this the best country to be blessed to live in.

    • Thanks, bro! I really appreciate the read and comment. It is a very important subject, which seems to be on the backburner these days with all the crazy politics and such. Love you!