The meaning of Veterans Day – by one of Maricopa’s own


Bud Ryan, commander of the Maricopa’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post, shares a shining example of the true American spirit Veterans Day symbolizes.

“There are only two kinds of people who understand Marines:
Marines and the enemy.
Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.”
Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army.

Christopher Gutierrez (pictured at right), a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and member of Tracy P McPherson Post 12043 of Maricopa, was stationed in Yuma where he served as a Harrier Mechanic at VMA 311.

In 2004 – one week after moving to Maricopa – he was deployed to Al Asad, Iraq for six and a half months, leaving behind his oldest daughter, Alexa, and wife, Kelli, who was four months pregnant at the time.

He returned home from Iraq in May 2005 when his youngest daughter, Ava, was already two-months-old. Chris is a loving family man, expressing his love and devotion to his beautiful wife, stating his marriage of four and a half years has been the happiest days of his life.

Being a Marine you go where duty calls. He was back home for 13 months before heading out on the 31st MUE for six months where he spent six weeks in Iwakuni, Japan, then six weeks at Kadena AFB in Okinowa, Japan. Then he headed out to sea aboard the USS Essex, spending time in the Philippines, sailing the blue waters of the Pacific before returning to Iwkuni, Japan. Chris returned home from the 31st MEU in January 2007.

He has eight months left to serve in the Corps. However, once a marine always a marine.

His greatest desire upon returning to civilian life is to serve in the police department in the Phoenix area.

Chris has earned many medals while serving including the National Defense Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea service ribbon, Iraqi Campaign, Global War on Terror service medal, Sea service ribbon and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.

Chris is the epitome of our young veterans returning home to their communities.

Veterans Day symbolizes the true American spirit. Marines like Chris, for century’s now, have showed their grit and patriotism for 232 years.

Since the birth of our nation, young men like Chris have purchased liberty with great courage and conviction. The cost has been in blood and great sacrifice.

On the 232nd birthday, to every Marine – those still in uniform and those who have served honorably in the past – be proud of who you are and what you do. Know that your citizenship dues have been paid in full.

You, Semper Fi, are in a class of the most unique fighting machines on the face of this earth. Continue to carry the battle colors of the Corps. You have earned the heritage to be an American hero.

Bud Ryan served in Korea from 1950 to 1954 as a Naval Petty Officer aboard the USS Eldorado AGC11 Communications ship and currently serves as Post Commander of Maricopa’s VFW post.