To enlist in the military is one of the most selfless acts that a person can commit. It is an unwavering oath to protect our citizens, a pledge to uphold freedom and justice, and a vow to give everything, up to and including one’s life, in service to our nation. The men and women of our armed forces risk their lives, whether it is amidst battle on the front lines, at sea far from dry land, or even here at home training the next generation. They sacrifice time with their families, the freedom to choose where they live, and the comfort of knowing what tomorrow may bring. Theirs is a life of uncertainty and struggle, yet they willingly accept and embrace this life, because of their love for our country and for which it stands.
After service, these men and women, at least, those fortunate enough to see the end of their enlistment, return to lives as civilians. Some find the transition an easy one, while others struggle with the vast changes to their every day existence, especially those fighting their own internal battles due to trauma or some other psychological turmoil. For some, this fight taking place off of the battlefield, proves to be just as deadly as the one “down range”.
It important that we look out for our veterans in any way that we can, whether it’s reaching out to your own battle buddy, taking a warm meal to the elderly Vietnam veteran next door, or volunteering at your local VFW or American Legion. Sometimes just being there for a veteran, is enough to get them through a difficult day.
It isn’t enough to just say, “Thank you for your service.” It isn’t enough to dedicate just one day a year to showing our gratitude. Every day, we must show our appreciation for those who put their lives on the line, so that we may be free.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”– John Fitzgerald Kennedy