I’ve never been more proud of my husband than when I watched him march into a gym with 300 of his comrades he had just returned home with from deployment. Tears immediately filled my eyes as I spotted him in the sea of camo and felt a sense of relief come over me as I realized he was home. I hugged him and handed him his son, who he had only spent 6 days with after he was born before going back overseas. We walked out of that gym together and headed home to rebuild the life that had just been flipped upside down for the past year. But the important thing was that we had each other, and that he was one of the lucky ones who returned.
A lot of people think that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are one in the same, so let’s discuss that first for a minute. Memorial Day is set to honor any service member who died while serving their country. Veterans Day is set to honor any living service member who has or is serving. I used to think a veteran was retired military and for lack of better words, older. However any service member who has served honorably is also a veteran. Whether at wartime or peacetime, active duty or retired.
Our service members sacrifice so much for the call of duty, and it wasn’t until I became a military wife that I began to see it firsthand. Missing holidays, birthdays, first days of school. Working long and hard hours or going away for weeks, months, or years at a time. Witnessing and knowing things that can’t be shared and don’t want to be relived. They sign on a dotted line and promise to protect this great land that we call home and for that, I personally believe we owe them more than just one day of recognition. But at least we can start here…
Today, on Veterans Day, take some time to honor our veterans. Whether it’s reaching out to a veteran you personally know and saying “thank you”, or sending cards to a unit of service members overseas. Of course they don’t expect anything and they don’t think they’ve done anything special; to them, they’ve just done the job they signed up to do. But it’s important that they know we appreciate them. That the sacrifices they’ve made haven’t gone unnoticed and that even though they signed up knowing this would be part of the job, it doesn’t make it any easier. Or maybe they didn’t have a choice and were drafted. Regardless, they’re heroes and today is a day to celebrate them.
So veterans, thank you for all that you do and all that you’ve done. And to my husband, my favorite veteran, thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made and for your selflessness. We love you and are proud of you today and everyday.