As a veteran, it is heartwarming to see the many tributes that are posted to Facebook, web sites, etc., and shown throughout the country. Does it bother me to see those who discredit and despise the military? Of course, but their right to express that belief is a part of freedom. For every active, reserve component, and former military, there are also millions of men and women who have served as civilians within the Department of Defense, and contractors who serve in a different capacity (and no, it isn’t just for the money). There is the family side too, – wives, husbands, children, siblings, parents, and friends who wait anxiously, supportively when their loved ones are in a place where harm may come to them. There is another group that also deserves a moment of thanks – the ones who volunteer, like with the USO, or begin campaigns of letter writing and sending care packages.
After all that thanks, I would like to add a final note to moms and dads whose young adults may be considering the military. I know it can be an unsettling thought, but as someone who spent 22 years in the Army, and as someone who helped train new soldiers, I can tell you that even a few years in the military can make a tremendous difference in an individual’s life. Notwithstanding the danger that can occur, there is a sense of pride and comradarie, a recognition of why this great country is worth defending, that stays with most veterans long past when they hang up the uniform.
Bless all of you who are taking time to remember veterans today.