Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan served as a guest speaker Wednesday morning at a Veterans Breakfast presented by Liberty State Bank.
For the event, Bryan stood before veterans - not as the Sheriff - but simply as a grateful American.
"I represent the grateful Americans who don't have the honor of speaking to heroes (before) Veterans Day. Those who wish they could reach out and speak to each of you personally," he said.
Bryan said he was honored and surprised to be asked to speak at the event by Liberty State Bank's Chris Crowell.
"I wondered what I would speak about. I've never worn a military uniform. I've never been to war. I've never left my family for months or years to go across the world and fight and defend my country," he said. "I have no idea what any of you have experienced - your fear, your bravery, your suffering, your sacrifice."
He went on to explain that the sacrifice of a veteran doesn't end on the battlefield. It continues when they return home.
"They struggle with medical conditions, employment, housing and so on," Bryan said, pointing out Vietnam Veterans in particular.
"Soldiers returning home from Vietnam were not shown the respect they deserved returning home from war. Most of these men were drafted and fought honorably. Thousands never returned home," he continued. "The ones who returned home were not welcomed with open arms. We ought to be ashamed. This is not what America stands for. I'm so proud of our country today - that we have learned from those mistakes. We have to support our military veterans."
Bryan has several veterans who are employed with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office. According to him, these employees are "dedicated, motivated and loyal."
Bryan told those in attendance that he appreciated their service, and the sacrifices their families have made, as well.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.