NORFOLK (NNS) -- Thanksgiving is the day when family and loved ones gather together, enjoy a meal, and give thanks for making it through another year. Whether it's getting a new job or having a baby, people find many blessings to be thankful for.
It is appropriate Veterans Day is observed during the same month as Thanksgiving. The service and sacrifice of veterans who have served has earned the gratitude and respect of many, including those who serve in the military today.
Sailors of aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) are thankful for the men and women who have previously served. They know they wouldn't be where they are today without the standards and traditions set by veterans.
"I feel that our veterans have helped us to be where we are today," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joanna Waugh, GHWB Senior Sailor of the Year. "Having an opportunity to support and continue their vision really means a lot to me."
Petty Officer 3rd Class Raylene Rodriguez, GHWB Petty Officer of the Year, looks to the ship's namesake as an emblematic veteran.
"It's both an honor and a privilege to be aboard a ship named after a Navy veteran who is still alive," said Rodriguez. "I feel the ship and its crew are the continuation of his legacy, and a starting point for many of our own."
Waugh also feels honored to serve aboard GHWB, the only U.S. Navy aircraft carrier with a living namesake.
"Anybody can read through articles or watch documentaries about President George H.W. Bush and his career, but it's another thing entirely to serve aboard an embodiment of said career," said Waugh. "He did it all, and the resiliency that he showed throughout his entire naval career really contributed to his success, which is the same resiliency we have adopted aboard GHWB to make sure that we are successful."
Humbled by their recent recognition, Rodriguez and Waugh credit the example set by veterans who have stood where they stand now. Despite their success, they both know they have big shoes to fill, and a long legacy to honor.
"President Bush may be one of the more well-known veterans, but I know he is one of many who have served," said Waugh. "I'm am forever humbled and grateful by the actions, the heroism, and the sacrifice of the men and women before me, no matter how far I go in my career."
Rodriguez takes a lot of pride in serving her country, especially on Veterans Day.
"Every morning that I recite the Sailor's Creed, I know that I represent the fighting spirit of those who served before me," said Rodriguez. "It's such a humbling feeling to stand in their place, and know that you are a better person for it."
Veterans Day and Thanksgiving may only come once a year on the calendar, but Sailors and other service members find reasons to be thankful for veterans and their service everyday. That gratitude is best displayed by standing the watch and upholding the legacy of those who have honorably served before us.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.