Today is Veteran’s Day – Remembrance Day or Armistice Day depending on where you are in the world. On this day, there will be ceremonies and services to encourage citizens to take time to recognize and remember the sacrifices of those who serve in our military.
I have many family members who are veterans and who currently serve in branches of the armed forces. My father, uncles, cousins, a brother-in-law and a nephew have been or are enlisted. I have friends and family who are stationed at bases in the United States and across the world.
I may not always agree with politicians or the agenda put forth by an administration, but I do appreciate and value the sacrifice made by the men and women who have to implement the strategy and action plan. Military service in the United States is voluntary. The men and women who don our country’s uniform each day do it because they want to. Their reasons may be varied, but at the end of the day they are the ones boarding a ship, jumping out of a plane or heaving a heavy pack over a dusty road to the next post.
When I was in high school, I received calls from colleges and universities encouraging me to apply. One day I received a call from an Army recruiter. He wanted to know if I had thought about a career serving my country. I laughed, and told him until the basic training requirement was waived, I wouldn’t be joining the military. Once he learned why, he was apologetically eager to end the call.
Besides the obvious lack of physical skill, I doubt I would have made a good soldier. I question authority. I don’t blindly take orders which don’t seem logical to me without asking why. I never make my bed. My brother-in-law, who was career military, told me those are important soldier skills.
I think there are more. The military men and women I know are all brave, but they also admit fear. The difference is they are willing to face their fears for something larger than themselves. They leave family, friends and loved ones to perform tasks they know may never be acknowledged due to politics. Far too many pay the ultimate sacrifice or end up returning home with life changing injuries.
If you do an online search for “support the troops” you will find many organizations and charities with the mission of assisting active duty soldiers or veterans. Many of these provide opportunities for you to adopt a troop or send letters to someone currently deployed. My nephew, who was stationed in Afghanistan 8 years ago, said cards and letters were great mood lifters. Who doesn’t like to receive a thank you note every now and then? If you want to send a real thank you note to a United States soldier, you can go to A Million Thanks. They accept generic letters at their California mailing address and at drop-off locations throughout the country.
So – to all who serve and have served, wherever you are – thank you. I appreciate your sacrifice. I honor your skills and talents. I am grateful to live in a land where I have basic civil rights because people were willing to fight and die for me to have those rights.
How are you saying “thank you” on Veteran’s Day? Share a memory of a Veteran you honor in the comments below.