I can think of only one regret in my life. I did not serve my country in the military. I guess the regret comes from my tremendous respect and thankfulness to those who have served or are serving now. I consider myself patriotic yet I never really sacrificed a thing for my country. I haven’t had to.
When I graduated from high school in 1973, the Viet Nam War was ending and the draft was discontinued. I went to a college that offered ROTC, and military service would actually have been relevant in my course of study. However, I made the decision not to join the military. I was too impatient to get my career started. The path I took was incredible. I met my wonderful wife, have three terrific children and 5 beautiful grandchildren. I have had many opportunities to do whatever I wanted in my career and I jumped on each one. Yet the blemish I see on my past is that I did not set aside my personal goals and ambitions to serve my country.
...they put their personal goals on hold, or chose to take a different path to reach them in order to serve in the military.
In the context of my own life, I recognize the selfless sacrifice of every service member. They did not do what I did. In many cases they put their personal goals on hold, or chose to take a different path to reach them in order to serve in the military. They moved their families every 2-3 years to a new place, not of their choosing. They endured separations from their families for months and even years in order to ensure that I am safe and free. They were even willing to lay their lives on the line thousands of miles away from here so that I would not have to suffer the catastrophic consequences of war on our own soil.
Many who served did die defending our country. They left behind parents, spouses, children and many others who loved them. Others have suffered debilitating injuries that will be with them for the rest of their lives. They sacrificed their own goals and dreams, their very lives for our freedom and, yes, our comfort. 93% of us can pursue our goals and dreams with but minor obstacles because the 7% have been willing to defend us.
Military spouses' own careers may be disjointed as they move every few years. They spend months, and sometimes years, as a single parent...
Military spouses deserve special recognition this month as well. Their own careers may be disjointed as they move every few years. They spend months, and sometimes years, as a single parent trying to raise a family while their spouse is deployed, often in combat situations. I can’t imagine the stress that they feel. Yet they work as a military community to help one another through it. In many cases, their spouse did not come home. Again, I can’t even imagine the grief.
It gives me pleasure to know that so many thrive in that environment and actually choose to make the military their career. When they love what they do and choose to keep doing it, we are benefitted further as our military leadership maintains a constancy and consistency that ensures ours is the best in the world.
The rest of us aren’t asked to pay such a price, but everyone can do something to help.
Thank you to all who serve and have served. Very, very sincerely…THANK YOU!
The rest of us aren’t asked to pay such a price, but everyone can do something to help. There are several really good support organizations that help families of the fallen. Tunnel to Towers pays off the mortgage, and in the case of catastrophically injured people, gives them a smart home that meets their needs. Folds of Honor ensures their kids get a college education paid for. Other good organizations are doing other good things. Pick one or two and contribute monthly. Can’t we, the 93%, contribute $25-30 per month to help our heroes and their families who have sacrificed so much for us? We can also tell those in Congress that we want our military supported with the best America can give them.
God bless our veterans and their families. God bless our Gold Star Families.
And God bless our first responders. Police, Fire and other Rescuers. They deserve a day of their own.