Lesson: be thankful.
I was proudly sworn in as a United States citizen on June 13, 2023 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I owe some thanks to U.S. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Representative for Colorado’s Third Congressional District, for helping coordinate and add me to the roster for the swearing in ceremony after a long wait. But I owe a bigger thanks to a friend from Pagosa Springs, a retired Seal Team member, who truly inspired me to become a citizen. I never truly appreciated what our military does for each and every one of us until I moved to the US and met some of the military – present and retired. And that day in Colorado Springs when the judge asked the group being sworn in if they wanted to say anything I stood and thanked the military in the room for their service.
My friend was not the first person to inspire me, but he was the one that made me realize I wanted to be a citizen of this great country. My first immersion into the US military was through the efforts of my husband, Bill, who when he experienced success in 2006 in the uranium sector, fulfilled his goal of supporting World War 2 veterans. Bill, whose father served in the 487th Bomb Group, started sending B17’s, B24’s and P51’s to the 487th reunions and I went along for the ride. I have flown in all these planes, travelled in the nose of a B17 from North Carolina to Georgia while the crew (and Bill) flew the plane.
Yet my experience flying in these incredible fighting machines pales by comparison with meeting the veterans and their families. The premise, inspired by Bill, was to provide veterans with flights on the giants of the sky in which they served their country. Having attended an air show where flights were available for a cost, Bill met veterans who wanted to fly again but could not afford the admission price. The reality that the very people who saved the world during WWII could not afford a flight pushed Bill into action. All vets at the air shows and bomber group reunions flew free, along with their families.
What an incredible gift spending time with these now elderly men, once young soldiers. We witnessed healing on those flights, memories flooding back that families never knew. Experiences of young men shot out of the sky by the German air force and parachuting to safety. Stories of German families who harboured soldiers to prevent these young men from being sent to prisoner of war camps. I watched old men become young. I watched families come together and understand their fathers in ways they never knew before, as many stories flowed for the first time. Humble to a fault, these heroes walked amongst us.
And through it all, the veterans kept thanking Bill and Bill kept saying he was the one who was thankful. Their efforts in the war allowed him the opportunity to succeed and all he really was doing was writing a check. A check he could write because they gave up their youth, put themselves in the line of fire, all for the future of the country and the world.
The ability to give back to the greatest generation ever was a true gift, provided to us through success in the uranium industry. We are hopeful the current nuclear renaissance will allow us to do some more work like this. Wait… another great reason to #GoNuclear.