To all service men and women,
To begin I would like to say thank you. Whether you served many years ago, are currently active duty or reserves, or have aspirations to serve in the future, you wanting to commit your life to this country is something that should not be taken lightly. I cannot express to you how grateful I am, as a civilian, knowing I am safe at home because you choose to put your life on the line for me. Willingly you accept such a huge responsibility on your shoulders.
As much as it saddens and frustrates me, not everyone feels this way. I know you aren't oblivious to the disgust certain groups of people in our society have about what you do. But I urge you to stay proud. The decision to enlist isn't easy. and overall, society most likely will never understand why you did it, but you know, and that is what matters, let that be what fuels you through the hardest days. You deserve every ounce of respect. The inability of certain groups to realize the kind of commitment and the loyalty you have to your fellow heroes has no right or grounds to make you feel like you are not a hero to the rest of us.
To the veterans, I cannot imagine what you have seen, the pain you have felt, and the sorrow you carry every day. I know it may not be a lot of consolation, but know that what you went through was not in vain. The sacrifices you made in the line of duty paved the way for so many generations that you may never see. You are not forgotten, you are looked up to and appreciated. I wish there was more for you that we could do to express how much you are valued. You are not thanked enough, and no thanks could ever be sufficient
The sacrifices required as a member of the armed forces isn't held strictly to the individual enlisted. The family that surrounds them is the unspoken hero of the situation. Whether you are a parent, sibling, wife, husband or child, you too face sacrifices that very few will understand. You are the true supporters of our soldiers, and they wouldn't be able to do what they do without you. You go through many lonely months, waiting for communication, and stay strong. You move wherever the forces send you and make the best of it that you can. It truly is a challenging lifestyle, but you live it with such an amazing grace about you.
Every part of the military life has challenges that seem so irrational to someone that isn't of the same selfless mindset you are. No matter where you came from, or where you go, you should always know that you did the ultimate service for your home. You are an inspiration.