This weekend is a celebratory one for our armed forces. The Marines have a birthday on the 10th and Veterans Day was yesterday. I’m embarrassed to admit that both days didn’t mean much to me when I was younger. Boy has that changed.
I didn’t grow up around anyone in the military, so I didn’t understand the brotherhood, the commitment, the focus, and the impact it has on the individual or the community. Again, I’m embarrassed to admit that I initially saw the military as a place people went that didn’t want to go to college.
Fast forward 25 years…I am now married to a Veteran. (And my sister is also married to a Veteran). So I find myself in a much different sphere and environment. And I’ve learned how ignorant I was.
My husband has shown me the importance and impact of being a Veteran. Although each person’s experience is vastly different in the service, there are some consistencies: honor, service, respect, and the brother/sisterhood that you become a part of. Ask any Veteran and they will share the importance of honor, service, and respect. Something the general public could certainly learn from.
If you talk with my husband about his career, he will give the military all of the credit for his success. Like many of his brothers and sisters in the service, he did not go to college right away. The Navy was his classroom. And he learned more real life skills than in any other part of his life. Serving 9 years which included 2 wars, those skills serve him today in abundance. And he never misses the opportunity to share that with those around him.
I’ve also seen how the military impacts teens. My step son is in Civil Air Patrol (an auxiliary of the US Air Force) and it has changed him in the most positive and profound ways. He is a natural leader and is learning how to use this skill set in remarkable ways and early on in his life. I am proud to see him interact with others because he lives the life of a cadet and exudes the principles of honor and respect to all. My husband and I consistently get comments from teachers and other adults about how polite, wise, and respectful he is and how he stands out from other kids his age. My husband and I know this will serve him throughout his life.
Living in my house, I am reminded each and every day of the importance of our Veterans. What they have sacrificed and who they have become in order for the rest of us to live in a peaceful existence. Frankly, it is overwhelming to take in.
But take it in, we must.
Although Veterans Day was yesterday, please don’t let the weekend go by without thanking a Vet for their service. For all of the blood, sweat, time, and tears they have given for you and for me.
If you are a Veteran, thank you. Thank you for your service, your honor, your higher principles, and for your dedication to our country. Please continue to be a shining example to the rest of us.