Military veterans are a special breed, but they don’t necessarily see themselves that way, according to Army Staff Sgt. Tana McMillan.
They sometimes find themselves in an awkward position when someone says: ‘Thank you for your service.’
“We don’t see what we do as anything special, and yet we have chosen this path to serve,” she said. The understanding is that a soldier would take a bullet to save a fellow soldier, and yet it is not often talked about.
She pointed out changes in the military over the years. Many of the veterans honored last Friday, Nov. 11, were subject to the draft. In the all-volunteer military, soldiers make a choice to serve.
“We serve so you don’t have to,” she said.
McMillan, a native of Albion and Boone Central graduate, was keynote speaker at the Veterans Day program. She joined the U.S. Army at age 17, served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and has re-enlisted twice. Today, she is in training to become an Army Reserve drill sergeant, stationed with the Second Battalion, 377th Regiment in Lincoln.
Tana narrated a video presentation showing some of her experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, where she drove a supply truck. Several of the photos showed an Army vehicle that had been hit by an IED.
At the end of her speech, Tana saluted Boone Central senior Alexa Nelson, who recently enlisted in the military.