Tallahassee, Florida --
"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." Great words said by Elmer Davis about great men like Retired Army First Sergeant, Allen Beal.
Beal is a veteran of Vietnam and OPERATION Desert Storm, and this year he'll be leading the troops at the Veterans Day Parade in Tallahassee.
"To bestow such a reward upon me ... is exciting," says Beal.
After 20 years, 1 month and 14 days of serving the nation, Beal knows all too well that "freedom is never free" and "in war, there are no unwounded soldiers."
"Respect and tribute should be paid to those who have served, are serving, and will serve in the military forces," Beal says.
In the 2010 Veterans Day Parade, Beal will proudly wear his uniform weighted down with numerous medals reflecting only some of the many memories of his time in the Army.
"This Vietcong jumped in one side, I jump in the other side and he fired his Magazine of 20 rounds plus, I fired my rounds of 20 plus," Beal says.
While the First Sergeant has been retired for years, he just recently stared fighting his most trying battle, Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer.
"After I got over the first initial shock of being diagnosed, I did have those thoughts, I'm a big bad 230-pound Air borne Ranger and I have been in a lot worse situations than this. I have been in situations I knew I was going to die," Beal says.
With his wife and friends, this soldier is prepared to fight until the bitter end.
The Veterans Day parade is next Thursday, November 11th at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Tallahassee--rain or shine.