My Reasons For Saying Thank You On Veterans Day
Local Editor Dawn Aulet discusses her experience with the military and what people sacrifice for our safety.
I am a child of the military, although my father was no longer active by the time I was born. I am a grandchild of the military and am still in awe of the fact that both of my grandparents — my grandfather and grandmother — fought in World War II. I am a military wife, and although my time in that service is over now, I remember what it was like.
It is because of the military that I was able to live in Europe for two years and in Georgia for one. I have seen a great deal of the world. It also is because of the military that a great deal of that sightseeing was done alone.
I was 20 when I got married. We were young and broke and our families did not stand behind us. We struggled, as I know every military family does. The support systems that are in place are there for a reason. Military members and their families need financial and emotional support, among other things. It is not easy to watch your loved one leave — be it a husband, wife or child, a mother or a father — and not know when or if they will be coming back.
Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day, generally regarded as the end of World War I. It is not by chance that I am posting this column at 11 a.m., for it is the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that is regarded as Veterans Day.
Since that time, we have fought in many wars and families have seen their loved ones leave to fight in World War II, Vietnam and Korea, the Gulf War and our current conflict, just to name a few. Soldiers have left loved ones to serve in Bosnia and Macedonia, to keep peace in the Middle East, outside of the war zone and have lived in countless corners of the world, far away from home, just to keep us safe.
Today is a day we have set aside to say thank you. But, one day is not enough. One day is not enough to say thank you to the woman who had to leave her baby to go back to work countries away. One day is not enough to say thank you to the man who left his bride and his entire family to serve in a conflict without knowing when he would see home again. One day is not enough to say thank you to the parents who live with only the memory of their son or daughter because they gave the ultimate sacrifice. One day is not enough to say thank you to the military men and women who survived wars and conflicts, but now live alone, with no family and no one to tell them thank you for keeping us safe.
So, even if you can't make it out to a commemorative service today, even if you don't personally know anyone who has served, the next time you see someone in uniform, remember to say thank you, regardless of how you feel about the current conflict. Say thank you because that individual military man or woman deserves it. Say thank you because you never know what they gave up to serve. Say thank you because maybe no one else has. Say thank you because they are serving to protect you and me and everyone else.
So, to all the men and women who have served, to all who are serving and to all who have already made the commitment, but have yet to put on a uniform, thank you. I wish you safety and peace in the moment when it does not come easily. I wish your family comfort for when you are gone, or when you are here but not the same, or when you don't come home. I wish you the knowledge that sometimes we don't know how to say it, but that we as a people are grateful that you stood up and said, "I will go."
Happy Veterans Day. Thank you.