There are some days that you would never want to live over again. Then there are those days that you relive year after year, and you absolutely wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world. This is one of those days for our family… Those “good” days…
Today is my second daughter’s birthday. She turned 10 years old today. It seems like yesterday that I was pregnant with her and experiencing some of the craziest emotions I’ve ever experienced in my life, up until that point at least. My husband, at the time, and I had just found out we were expecting again and he had also just received his first orders to deploy to Iraq within a couple of months.
I remember being scared out of my mind because not only were we in unknown territory, due to being stationed at Fort Campbell, KY and only being there for about 3 weeks before finding out we were with child, but my husband was leaving American soil and actually being sent to a foreign land where soldiers were being killed left and right. Nervous? Scared? Honestly, I think I was more petrified than anything at that point.
To make a long story short, he ended up leaving right before Thanksgiving that year and the holidays definitely were not the same without him. I ended up going to visit my family back in Illinois and the day after I got there we had a beautiful and healthy, yet tiny, 4 lb 8 oz baby girl. I had gone into labor prematurely. The doctors all said that it was due to me being stressed about my husband’s safety and now having two children, instead of just the one, to care for alone if anything were to happen to him.
I don’t know what caused me to go into labor early but I do know that this is definitely one of those days… Those good days that I will always remember and hope to never ever forget.
What is a veteran? According to Merriam-Webster, a veteran is anyone who has had long experience in a particular field. Maybe I should rephrase my question… what is a military veteran? A military veteran can be a man or a woman. He/she is someone who may be actively serving, discharged, reserves or retired. A military veteran is someone who has sacrificed much, including: time with family and friends, lost limbs, higher salaries that they could have been making in the private sector and have even, sometimes, sacrificed their very lives for the sake of freedom.
Maybe that is why some people’s first thought is not to tell the young service members “Happy Veterans Day” or celebrate them the way that they celebrate and honor the older generation of military members. Our first thought is typically that a veteran is someone older, right? Wrong.
I think we need to realize that our world has changed and our military continues to be a major part of that change. We have 18-year olds who leave as boys and girls and return to us as grown men and women. 19-year olds who have seen and done more in a year or 2 in the military than most of us have seen and done with our entire lives. 20-year olds who are sent to war, who deploy and come back home with all types of mental and physical wounds. These young men and women, just like the 75-year old WWII veteran, are too America’s heroes. They deserve the same honor, celebration, gratitude and appreciation that we display to the older generation of military men and women.
With that said, if you have not already done so, tell a service member ‘Thank You‘ today. And, if you are a present or former military member, let me take this time to thank you for your service and your sacrifice. I know, from experience, that it is not easy and you deserve so much more than we can ever repay. Also, to the men and women who have found their place in standing beside a soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coastie, please know that you are never forgotten. I, also from experience, understand the difficulties that you face as a spouse, child or other loved one of someone in the military. I truly honor you on this day for your service and sacrifice and for continuing to stand and support your service member through it all. We salute and honor you all on this, and every, day.
Past, present and future…
Happy Veterans Day!