Growing up Veteran’s Day was always just a day off school for me, and I never really thought anything of it, I am a little ashamed to say. I would say it is because I didn’t know any veterans, but my dad is one so there goes that theory.
While I have known for quite some time the purpose of the day, I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I joined the military myself. That was in the days before social media so I don’t think I was in the minority when it came to my feelings about the day.
Having now served in the military for 14 years, holy crap I can’t believe it has been that long, I have gained a much deeper appreciation for all branches of the military, all of those who have served honorably, and the importance of our allied partners. Many of them are also remembering those who served this weekend.
There truly is no contribution so small that it is not deserving of recognition. All who served honorably, no matter the duration or location, took an oath to defend the Constitution of this great nation, and to stand up to those who would try to take away our freedoms.
I have had the privilege of serving with so many of those honorable men and women over the last 14 years, and I can honestly say that each of them changed my life in some way. In some cases they taught me what I didn’t want to do, but that has more to do with different styles than a lack of commitment to serve.
I have also known a few people who volunteered to serve but for a number of different reasons were never able to do so. I also hold these people in high regard for their willingness of heart even if their physical body would not allow them the opportunity.
While not all of us have the opportunity to serve in uniform, we all have a responsibility to those who have gone before. I have talked before about living and enjoying the freedoms others died for, but I feel it is increasingly important for each of us to fight for those freedoms in any way we are asked.
The power of each individual has become stronger than at any other time in our history. Each of us who enjoy freedom have the responsibility to defend that freedom, even for those we don’t agree with, and maybe even especially for them. This country was founded by great men and women who saw important issues very differently, but who understood the value in those differences and the strength they could provide.
As we honor those who have served and who currently serve, may we all take a moment to look inside and ask ourselves what we are doing to defend those same freedoms in our own little corner of the world, and may we resolve to do our part in ensuring those freedoms will remain long after we are gone.