As many of you probably know, today is Veteran's Day here in the United States. It's been an especially good week for me as yesterday was also the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps and I got to have lunch that day with two friends that had the distinct honor of serving as US Marines. Coincidentally, it was during a customer training session and even though it wasn't specifically designed for our federal government customers we happened to have representatives from every branch there in the meeting - some active duty, some veterans, and some serving as civil servants. The fact that this meeting happened the day before Veteran's Day really got me to thinking about a few things...

First, I want to stop and thank all of the veterans and active duty servicemen and women for doing their part in establishing and protecting the freedoms that we enjoy and sadly, often take for granted. That said, I don't want to limit this statement to those who have served or are serving in the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Be it the Coast Guard, the State Troopers, your local police or sherrif's department, firemen, the game warden out in the field, or countless others - these are people that put their lives on the line to ensure our safety and freedoms every day and they deserve our gratitude and respect.

For those of you that don't know me well, I am an extremely passionate patriot. I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as an active duty member of the United States Air Force and I owe much of my success to the lessons and opportunities that I was afforded there. Not everyone lives in a country where you have the opportunity to volunteer and serve and I am thankful to have had these opportunities and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, tomorrow, without hesitation.

Maybe that's a part of what being a veteran is all about? Being willing to put your own personal needs aside for a greater cause? Having the desire to do the honorable thing and the will to see it through... The greatest compliment I've ever received was from a dear friend, who when speaking about me to one of her friends described me as the "most honorable man she knows". Yet, my honor, my contribution, and my service all pale in comparision to what many have given and are giving today.

To my friends that never came back from Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, and now Afganistan - thank you and I hope to see you again someday. You paid the ultimate price and I am thankful to live with the freedoms that you helped provide.

And to all who have served and are serving, from SolarWinds, from me, and from my family - a heartfelt thank you. And from me, thank you to a country that allowed me to do so.

Josh Stephens
Head Geek