As a child, it always made me proud when Veteran’s Day would roll around and my Daddy would stand at his place in church for the acknowledgement of the veterans. It made me feel good to know that he had done his part in serving our country and protecting freedom. He doesn’t talk much about his service time, except to tell silly stories about learning to eat everything and not asking what was in it, to the time they were getting a flu vaccine and the guy in front of him passed out. But then, for all that he has a big booming voice and is good at getting people to talk to him, my Daddy is an often quiet man. I still feel pride every time I hear “Semper Fi” and know that my Daddy is one of the few and the proud.
It’s an interesting correlation to now be the wife of an active duty service member. Any time I inquire about a military discount on a rare shopping trip in the States, I get thanked for my husband’s service. Most of the time he’s right there with me, so I get to smile and watch as he ducks his head while accepting the thanks. It isn’t something he thinks makes him special for doing. It isn’t something he feels he needs to be thanked for doing. He often tells me he doesn’t consider himself a veteran, because even though he is a service member, he has yet to deploy to a combat zone. I know better than to correct him on his definition and just remind him quietly to accept the thanks for what it is. Because, if I know my husband, I know he’d be no more comfortable with the accolades after a deployment than he is now.
My thanks goes out to all who serve their countries in the greater interest of freedom. There is a terrible irony that freedom and peace come at the price that they do. It is a terrible heart break that the price is so often denigrated as not worth it. There is a terrible beauty in the eyes of the men and women who believe in what they are doing. It takes a special person to set aside their own hopes, dreams, and ambitions, to serve their country.
As you go about your daily life, remember that freedom has never come freely. Remember the high and often terrible cost of peace. And, if you can find it in you, thank someone for their service. See in them, not just a soldier in a uniform, but the brother, sister, son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, and father, that they are. Each of them gives up a part of themselves in service. Each of them makes a sacrifice worth acknowledging.
Happy Veteran’s Day.