Today, as I write this, it's Veteran's Day. Veteran's Day is an important date, not only to our nation, but to many people in their personal lives. Millions of people know someone, or are related to someone, who served/is serving/will serve. For me, my papa served in the Korean War as part of the Air Force and was stationed in Japan. I have stories of him telling me how he came back from serving, talked to his grandmother- who spoke Polish and very little, broken English -- in Japanese the entire time. Also, my cousin who served in the Air Force as well. My boyfriend is also serving in the Navy and will be leaving for his first deployment soon. Not only that, but people that I went to school with are now in the military.
The bottom line is, almost everyone knows someone in the military. I didn't realize how many people I knew until this year. But, this year, I want to give a special thank you. Now that it affects me so personally, I need to give a major thank you, but I also feel the need to talk about how much we value them as people- not just soldiers.
So, to all the service men and women -- thank you. Thank you to those who enlisted when they were in high school and decided to risk their lives before it began for most of us. Thank you to those who enlisted to support their families. Thank you to those who enlisted because they wanted to gain an education, but had no means of paying for college. Thank you to those who enlisted because they felt like they wanted to make a change in our country. Thank you to those who enlisted because they felt the desire to protect our country. Thank you to everyone who felt the call and joined.
You are valued for your work and you will always be. There's nothing that can take that away from you. What you have to go through is not easy- every medal and rank you earned because you worked for it. Being away from home, and sometimes feeling like you don't have a home, isn't easy. Not being able to communicate with your family or loved ones for long periods of time isn't easy and takes a toll on you; so does not getting to see them either. Physically what you go through isn't easy and isn't something that everyone can do. But, you somehow managed to get through all these mental and physical difficulties.
Secondly, you will ALWAYS be valued as a person. You will almost always have the hardest time transitioning into civilian life whether you're on leave, discharging, or even just leaving the base. You will always have a certain way of doing things- folding clothes, cleaning, sleeping, etc. that most won't be able to understand. You will always have memories of things that happened that you can't get rid of. You will probably struggle more find love or maintain a romantic relationship. But, trust me you will find someone who values you as a person and not for your uniform, there are people who don't cheat, and those of you who go into the military while in a relationship- if you want it to work, you'll make sure it does and they'll make sure it does as well.
I know I'm not in the military and I will never be able to imagine what you go through. I know even saying these things, I may be wrong in saying. But, just know your service is always valued and that we will never forget that, but you as a person is also valued. Thank you for everything you do and for your service. While benefits for you when you leave the military isn't the best and needs work (such as better healthcare, housing, and a job) -- those are things people realize need work and want to fight to get for those who are done serving. You deserve nothing than the best, and we are all so appreciative of the sacrifices you make and what you do for our country. You put your life on the line, so our's can be free. So, for those serving at home and overseas, young and old, man or woman -- thank you.