Today is Veterans’ Day in the US. A time to remember and honor all those who have served and currently serve in our armed forces, and to thank them for their sacrifices.
When I was younger, I did not understand the concept behind Veterans’ Day as much. After all, all the people I knew who had been in the armed forces had come home safely and were just fine. There didn’t seem to be much sacrifice involved there.
Today I understand much better just how much sacrifice goes into preparing a soldier for war and what not just that soldier but also his or her family gives up in doing so. They give up jobs that pay well and fancy houses for a soldier’s salary (which tends to be very, very low, especially starting out) and base housing. They give up the right to take vacations whenever they please in exchange for being at the government’s beck and call. They give up family holidays, birthdays, get-togethers, and sometimes even the birth of their children.
Then, if they are deployed to a war zone, as so many have been in recent years, they give up more. They may give up limbs or mobility. Some give their peace of mind, their ability to sleep at night without nightmares, their enjoyment of fireworks on the Fourth of July. In the end, some give up their lives in the line of duty.
For all the sacrifices that our armed men and women — and their families — make every day, I just want to say thank you. Stay as safe as possible. And know that we all appreciate what you do for us.