(Submitted to our Local Paper for Veterans Day 2013)
All around us are people walking through their normal days and nights. We smile as we pass in a crowd or a doorway and sometimes we make small talk. Sometimes we strike up a conversation with a total stranger because we find ourselves waiting for something or someone in a common space. We may learn during our small talk that our partner is a veteran of our Armed Forces. I hope you take a moment of your free time to say "thanks" because every veteran is owed that personal message and so much more.
I write a tribute every year to our veterans because I am eternally grateful and impressed by their sacrifices. I am constantly humbled by their responses which range from, tears to a simple statement of how they would do it again or what a honor it was to serve. "Really?" is what comes to my mind. How incredibly special are these men and women who give up 2 to 20 years of their private lives to serve our country and then feel honored to have done so? They are the bravest of the brave and the best of the best. They require our respect and our service until the end of their days. The physically wounded should never have another financial woe as long as they live and should receive the best available medical care always. Those with psychological injuries should never again wonder how to hold a job or how to survive or where to live. They should be taken care of by the Veteran's Health Care providers without cost or question. We, citizens who have never served, should be footing that bill without hesitation. Our government is long overdue making these things happen without years of red tape and rejections. Anything anytime for any veteran, that should be the motto and the business plan. I, for one, pray for that day to come sooner rather than later. We owe these amazing people that and much more.
I cannot change the government programs. I cannot make life on easy street a reality for those veterans who are not able to afford their homes or their medical needs. I am not a wealthy woman. I am a writer with a giant soft spot for all who have given so much for my country and their own. I am a strong believer that people can make change when change is needed by talking, writing and sharing ideas and then voting for people who will begin the change process. Let's do that. Let's change our veterans programs. Let's take care of our best. They took care of us. It's our turn now.
On this Veterans Day, 2013, I'd humbly offer my own thank you and my deepest appreciation for all you gave, whatever it was, it was more than I gave. I'd like to offer my prayers for your future to be nothing but good days and restful nights. I pray for your families who welcomed you home and that your life be filled with love and respect from all who salute you as you live your post-service days in peace. A peace you helped to secure. A country you represented and protected is your home sweet home and I wish you nothing but good all the days of your life.
Signing your life over to the USA is a completely non-selfish act and an act only a handful of our citizenry undertakes. You are the few and the proud, even if you aren't a Marine. You are the bravest of the brave and you are all that you could be and you did fly high or sailed with anchors aweigh. I am so thankful and I am so proud of each and every one of you.
With the freedom you helped secure, I salute each of you. I admire each of you. I humbly and sincerely thank each of you.
Walk proudly and share with those around you the fact that you proudly served and give us a chance to shake that hand, buy that drink or lunch. Yes, give us a chance to really thank you.