Lt. Col. Steve Russell served 21-years in the United States Army and was a driving force behind the capture of Saddam Hussein.
"We make it happen together, in wars, and extreme circumstances," said Russell, recalling his time of service.
Members of Russell's family have served in battle dating back to the American Revolution, he's celebrated Veterans' Day for as long as he could remember.
"It is a time to reflect on those who make our freedom free," he said.
As a retired officer, Russell spends most of his time reflecting each Veterans' Day, including friends and loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"I'll reflect on a lot of things," he said, "but I think as I look at our country today, we have to reject this cynical attitude we've found ourselves in."
This year, Russell's reflections come with a call to action.
"We have a generation of Americans now that are gleefully going along as if our country is not in any danger, and we are," said Russell.
Russell says the state of our economy is the biggest threat to homeland security.
"We are in great peril," he emphasized, "the defense budget is being slashed to a point where we will now have to pick a force smaller than at any time since before World War 2."
He's not blaming Republicans or Democrats for the economic crisis, but does blame their inability to compromise and work together. As a career soldier, Russell says the men and women of our armed forces set their differences aside to complete missions when they serve in battle.
"If they all went to the polls and were engaged, we'd have a different country," said Russell.
Russell says this is why he wants more veterans to do their duty, and vote.
"This is a call to active service," he said, "not uniform service, those days are past for many of us, but active service, our nation is in peril, and we must get involved."
Russell estimates there are 20-million veterans in the United States. He plans to visit his great-grandfather's grave to mark Veterans' Day. His great-grandfather served in World War I.
Russell also wrote "We Got Him!: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein."