Harry J. (Joe) Evans Jr., 32°

As I look through my calendar of upcoming events, I notice a date that typically remains obscure to me on a daily basis. That date is November 11, Veteran’s Day. I know that because of the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of men, I experience a freedom of life unseen before in the annals of history. Yet, as I go about my daily life, I typically do not give those men and women or their efforts the slightest thought. Then, when this time of year approaches, I am reminded of my daily failure to thank God for those who have given so much.

There are times when I feel that I have done nothing to preserve the freedom that America’s veterans have fought for so valiantly. It is my hope, however, that this letter will serve as a reminder to all veterans that those of us who did not serve in the Armed Forces have not forgotten what they did for us, nor are we lacking in gratitude.

It is impossible for those of us who have not experienced the horrors of war firsthand to understand completely the magnitude of your sacrifices. Many have been physically and emotionally scarred for life, while others have given their lives. The many men and women who have given so much of themselves were from every walk of life, and they span the breadth of this great nation. Most consider themselves as common, ordinary people. But these "ordinary" people have sustained the ideals of freedom for all humankind everywhere. We cannot adequately express our feelings for your service to this country. I can only hope that you can read between the lines when I say "Thank you and may God bless you always."

Harry Joe Evans Jr.
is a Past Master of James A. Smith Lodge No. 395, Farmers Branch, Tex., and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Dallas. He is a former Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leader and is a Civil Engineer graduate from Kansas State University with 26 years of service working for several Texas municipalities and consulting firms.