A New Bedford Army Veteran Explains the True Meaning of Veteran’s Day [AUDIO]
After speaking with Retired Army Sargeant Chris Gomes, I have a whole new perspective on Veterans day.
I sat down with the South End native who joined the army back in 2003 and retired in 2020. He's a graduate of New Bedford Vocational Technical High School and was brave enough to talk about his past. This is his story:
What Does Veterans Day Mean to Gomes?
"For me, as opposed to Memorial Day, is more of a celebration. We get to reflect with comrades who are still with us and tell stories and work with the community and do the best we can since we've been home."
What Made Gomes Enlist, to Begin With?
"I was in High school in 2001 when the initial 9/11 attacks happened, so that weighed heavy on everything, and as high school went on, getting closer to graduation, it was the choice of staying around the New Bedford area and picking up a job or going into the military and I talked to quite a few recruiters and was looking forward to going into the military after that."
Gomes Began His Tour Back in 2003 and Was Asked Where He Traveled To.
"I got stationed in Grafenwöhr Germany, which was my only duty station, and out of there I did a couple of deployments to Iraq."
The Reason Gomes Retired.
"In 2008, I was blown up in Bahgdad. We got hit by a roadside bomb. I lost my right leg above the knee, along with multiple other injuries, which eventually lead to my military retirement."
Gomes’s Medical Injuries and the Effect It Has on Him Today.
"I still have shrapnel all over my back and hips, but I'm living my life one day at a time. I have a family and kids and a full-time job. So I just keep my head up and keep looking forward."
Does the Prosthetic Leg Ever Become an Obstacle or Get in the Way?
"Yes. As I tell most people- have you ever thought about the next step you have to take? and most people look at me like I'm crazy, so I say seriously- think about the next step you have to take and they don't. They take it for granted, they're just going to walk down the street or up the stairs and do whatever it is on their normal day. For me, is there snow on the ground? Is there ice? Is it wet? Am I going up a ramp? Are there stairs? All that factors into having a prosthetic."
Gomes Explains His Involvement Within the Community regarding His Military Service and Helping Others Who Are Currently Enlisted or Have Fought the Good Fight.
"I'm the Veteran agent in New Bedford, so I help returning veterans and veterans who have already been home applying for their benefits, compensation, and pension. I also help widows apply for their benefits as well. That's my big involvement right now."
The Final Message for Veterans Day from a War Hero:
"Enjoy the day, that's what it's for. If you see a Veteran- thank them, we appreciate it more than you might realize."