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Veteran, we owe you so much. Thank you.

From your perspective, you simply served.

Many people in my generation and younger want credit for everything we do. If it is commendable, please commend it. We don’t even mind a certificate just for trying hard! We don’t have to win, do something spectacular, or even memorable. But we appreciate the pat on the back and sense of appreciation.

That’s how many of us are so different than veterans. When you talk to average veterans and thank them, their response is simple, “All I did was serve.” We know! And what’s crazy is the fact that you don’t demand recognition or applause or metals or standing ovations or even certificates. You are happy to have done your part.

We are happy you did your part too.
Thank you!

What does the veteran’s part look like?

You sacrificed.
You served.
You sweat.
You stood.
You protected.
You provided.
You worked.
You persevered.
You hurt.
You feared.
You wondered.
You watched.
You worried.
You listened.
You wore.
You hoped.
You grieved.
You bandaged.
You cried.
You laughed.
You gave.
You did.

You did your job in spite of the difficulties, the losses, the hardships, the fears, the danger, the monotony, or the sacrifices. You put one foot after another, after another, after another, until you were finished. You served. Again, thank you.

How do we see your part?

We see you as heroes. Not because of any one event or a particular sacrifice; instead, we see you as heroes just because you are. You were willing to give up everything for the good of our country, your community, your neighbors, and your family. You were willing to play your role and do your part day after day which allowed us to enjoy freedom. We did not have to get up everyday and wonder what evil was going to overtake us. We didn’t have to wonder if anyone had our back. We didn’t have to consider whether or not it was safe to venture out of our homes. We didn’t even have to think at all about our safety. You were doing that. You were giving it all. You were sacrificing personally. You were sacrificing for your brother in arms. You were sacrificing so we did not have to. Again, thank you.

Do we see the cost?

I’m not sure that I do. I sort of understand but not really. You lost your personal freedom. You lost your ability to choose safety over danger. You lost your freedom to do whatever you wanted to do during your career. You lost your freedom to enjoy family and your other intimate relationships for some or all of your career. The very things you were willing to protect for us, you lost personally. Plus so much more! You aged. You carried the wounds with you. You remember what you saw, what you experienced, and what you endured. You possibly still can’t talk about it. You have tried to compensate. Maybe like so many others you have turned to whatever is necessary to quiet the noises. We may see it but we don’t truly understand it. Again, thank you.

So how do we respond?

We can’t say it too often or too loud,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We honor you. We honor those who did not get to come home. We honor those who came home wounded. We realize that we Americans have not always shown you the honor you deserve. For that, we are sorry. We want you to hear us before it is too late…thank you!

It does not matter to us where you served, when you served, or in what branch of service you served. We are grateful for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine.

We will remind our children.
We will say a prayer.
We will celebrate freedom.
We will remember.
We will thank God for you and all you have provided for us.

Thank you!

I especially am grateful for the sacrifice, love, and example of my grand father who served in World War 2. I can’t put it in words all that he means to my children, my wife, and me. Love you Grandad!

What about you? Do you have a veteran you are especially thankful for?